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Airport Of The Future: Dubai World Central

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Airport Of The Future: Dubai World Central

Airport Of The Future: Dubai World Central
April 28
08:57 2015

MIAMI — The future of Dubai aviation has been in the spotlight since the announcement of a $32 billion expansion at Dubai’s Al Maktoum Airport at Dubai World Central. This expansion, part of Dubai’s “Airport of 2050” vision, will make Dubai the outright world leader when it comes to commercial air travel and luxury.

As the first point of entry for 95% of visitors to Dubai, the airport has become vital to Dubai’s global perception and economic structure. Handling just over 70 million passengers in 2014 alone, Dubai International has sprung itself into the position as the world’s sixth busiest airport.

The majority of this growth has been achieved thanks to aggressive expansion by Emirates Airlines and FlyDubai. However, the airport is quickly reaching its full capacity as it has more than 270 aircraft based at the airport alone, and to help cope with more growth that is expected, there is an aggressive expansion plan in place with Dubai Airports’ “Airport of 2050” vision.

The vision is centered around Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central.

Al Maktoum Airport, which opened in June of 2010, is located roughly 23 miles southwest of Dubai, located in Jebel Ali. After receiving its first commercial flight in October of 2013, Al Maktoum Airport has seen modest expansion from commercial airlines, including Qatar Airways, Wizz Airlines, and Gulf Air. However, a larger expansion came in 2014 with the relocation of all Emirates Skycargo operations from Dubai International to Al Maktoum. However, the airport faced major challenges when several airlines relocated to the airport when Dubai International Airport closed a runway due to scheduled maintenance.

The Vision


The “Airport of 2050” vision calls for rapid expansion at Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central due to the recent major aircraft orders by giants Emirates and Flydubai. Early industry models show that with this fleet growth, Dubai has the potential to serve 190 million passengers by the year 2030, 260 million by the year 2040, and 309 million passengers by 2050.

(Credits. Dubai Airport)

(Credits. Dubai Airport)

With these very large numbers, Dubai Airports formed a committee to take action and to achieve this projected goal. After months of hitting the drawing board, it was decided that Al Maktoum International Airport would feature a revolutionary airport layout that would boast “a completely new approach to airport design which will enable the continued escalation of traffic whilst reaching new heights for connectivity and passenger service.”

The overall goal during the design of Al Maktoum International Airport was to make it what Dubai Airports calls “future proofed” to ensure the airport can easily be expanded to meet Dubai’s future aviation needs.

Dubai Airports and Emirates Airlines have realized that current airport designs, processes, and technologies have often put a burden on airport efficiency, and to make up for these inefficiencies, both are teaming up to help deliver revolutionary advancements in airport technology and operations that will specifically fit for Al Maktoum International. This follows Dubai Airports strong belief that “airports must invest heavily in innovative, customer-oriented technology and processes to eliminate queues and increase retail opportunities by driving out cumbersome, outdated process and optimising dwell time.”

Al Maktoum International Airport is designed with the passenger experience in heart; Dubai Airports claims that the airport design “ensures the proper balance between scale and intimacy. Although passengers may be passing through the world’s largest airport which offers unmatched connectivity and choice of destination, they won’t sense the scale with minimal walking distances and queues and a warm and welcoming environment.” The airport intends to use efficient and advanced transportation systems to keep passengers connections short and hopefully hassle free.

The airport will feature several phases of construction. Phase one calls for two main terminals made using a “triple plus modular approach”. This means two terminals with three “nodes” or “triple plus” will make up the structure of each terminal. Terminals will feature up to 100 contact stands with the majority of stands capable of handling the Airbus A380. According to Dubai Airports, the terminals will be “connected by an automated people mover/train to a multimodal ground transportation facility, located at the west end of the airport. The train will welcome guests from various modes of transportation and transfer them in close proximity to their gate. The design also facilitates highly efficient minimum connection times for transit passengers.”

Phase one will feature three runways of over 12,000 feet. Of these runways, one runway has already been built and measures a length 14,764 feet. With the modular design, the airport will easily be capable of necessary expansion shortly after the completion of phase one in the “early 2020s”. Final plans call for three terminals with five runways.

If projections hold true, Dubai will handle around 190 millions passengers in just 15 years. With this expected expansion, Dubai Airports is choosing the right time to expand. With huge capacity constraints at Dubai International Airport, Al Maktoum International Airport holds the key to future aviation travel in Dubai. Al Maktoum International offers future generations a “future proofed” design capable of doubling its capacity in short notice all while delivering innovative service and luxury to the millions of passengers it will serve. For now, we wait for the groundbreaking of phase one of this projected $32 billion project.

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About Author

Benjamin Bearup

Benjamin Bearup

Aviation journalist from Atlanta, Georgia. Business student at the University of Georgia with a passion for aviation business management. ben@airwaysmag.com @TheAviationBeat

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