Dubai's newest airport opens

2013-10-28 11:06

(AFP PHOTO/Marwan Naamani)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Dubai - A flight carrying a little more than 100 passengers from Budapest touched down Sunday at Dubai's new Al Maktoum International Airport, a modest first arrival for a terminal designers hope will be the world's largest in just 10 years.

The United Arab Emirates' most flashy city-state, known for its high-flying ambitions, already gave the new airport the code DWC for Dubai World Central. The name mirrors Dubai's vision of itself as a connection point between east and west.

The airport's construction and development is forecast to cost more than $32bn (R314bn at R9.81/dollar). When complete, it will have five runways capable of handling 160 million passengers a year. About 63% of that will be people in transit, said Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths at the inauguration of the new passenger terminal.

Aviation comprises 28% of Dubai's gross domestic product, some $22bn (R215bn) a year. Much of the current revenue comes from Dubai International Airport, which is the fourth busiest airport in the world serving around 57 million passengers last year. That airport, though, is expected to reach its full capacity of 90 million passengers by 2020.

The new Al Maktoum International Airport is an attempt to hold Dubai's edge in the market.

"There is a lot of pressure to get the airport running," Griffiths said. "Its ambition is to be the world's largest airport and the world's largest hub."

Dubai's pivotal location on the eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula makes it a gateway from Europe to the east, said Josef Varadi, CEO of the privately-owned Hungarian Wizz Air. His company's passenger flight was the first to arrive at the new airport.

The airport has been open since 2010 to cargo flights. Around 36 freight operators regularly operate at the airport.

However, with just three agreements signed with passenger airlines, DWC still has miles to go before it rivals other destinations.

DWC does not offer connection flights for transfer passengers yet. Construction of the airport's mega terminal is well behind schedule following the 2009 financial crisis. It is also tricky for passengers to travel to or from the sole working terminal without a car since the city's mass transit stops well before the airport.

Griffiths said there are plans being drafted for the airport by 2025 to accommodate the needs of Emirates, the Middle East's biggest airline. It currently bases out of Dubai International Airport.

He declined to say what kind of incentives were being offered to airlines to lure them to DWC. He said the city-state's landing fees are already considerably low compared to other airports around the world.

Griffiths also said there are no plans in place to close Dubai International Airport, but that ultimately the decision will be determined by air-space capacity.

"That's not a decision we have to make probably for the next 30 to 40 years," he said.

Read more on:    dubai  |  flights  |  air travel  |  travel  |  travel international

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside Travel

 
/News

#FindYourEscape with Traveller24

Your insider guide to exploring South Africa and the world...
 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.