Dubai unveils `world’s largest’ Al-Maktoum airport
Sydney – The Gulf emirate of Dubai unveiled passenger operations at its Al-Maktoum International airport, which is touted to be the world’s largest airport once completed.
Al-Maktoum is built next to Dubai Jebel Ali Free Zone and its port in Dubai World Central, an economic zone the government hopes to turn into what it calls an ‘aerotropolis’.
The airport was opened only for cargo in June 2010, while passenger operations were repeatedly delayed and once completed it will feature five runways that will be able to handle an annual capacity of 160 million passengers and 12 million tones of cargo, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Chief executive officer of Dubai Airports, Paul Griffiths said that 36 cargo carriers currently operate out of the new airport, compared to only two in 2010.
In comparison, Dubai International handled 57 million passengers in 2012, as it has become a major stop for air traffic between the West, Asia and Australasia.
Chairman of Dubai Airports, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said that the airport will play a vital role in the future development of Dubai as a centre for trade, commerce, transport, logistics and tourism.
Griffiths pointed that Al-Maktoum is not aimed at replacing Dubai International, where expansion work is continuing.
A Wizz Air plane from Budapest was the first passenger aircraft to land at the sprawling new facility and Jazeeera Airways would follow suit on Thursday while Gulf Air will begin operations on December 8 and no other airline has announced operations for the new airport.