Dubai to spend $1.3 billion on airport expansion
The Gulf emirate of Dubai is to invest $1.36 billion in a new terminal for its airport to handle 45 million passengers by 2015, civil aviation chief Sheikh Ahmad bin Said Al-Maktoum said Tuesday.
"We have laid out five billion dirhams ($1.36 billion) for the airport's expansion and the building of a new terminal," said Sheikh Ahmad, also chairman of the Dubai-owned carrier Emirates.
Work on the new terminal, designed by France's Aroports de Paris (ADP), will begin in 2002 and finish in 2005, by which time the airport will be able to accommodate 22 million passengers, he said.
The airport "is expected to have a capacity of 45 million passengers from 2015 against 12.3 million in 2000," he added.
The United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a member, has launched a $1.75-billion expansion to turn its airports into some of the world's busiest.
In Dubai, more than 100 airlines were operating almost 400 flights a day by the end of 2000, a figure expected to double after the terminal is completed.
Since 1991, Dubai has posted a 12.25 percent annual increase in passenger numbers and a 16.5 percent rise in cargo, Sheikh Ahmad said, adding that most of the world's airports only see a 4.5 percent yearly increase in passenger numbers.
The new terminal at Dubai airport will be in the shape of a giant plane wing 1.2 kilometers long and will be capable of handling around 64-parked planes but will be reserved for Emirates passengers.
The airport also has a second parallel runway, which can handle wide-bodied planes and is equipped with the latest technology to allow landing in zero visibility.
If growth continues into the second decade, Dubai plans to build a totally new airport near the free zone of Jebel Ali, 50 kilometers (30 miles) out of town.
Furthermore, Sheikh Ahmad said that Emirates was planning to launch seven flights a week to the United States from 2002.
"Our future link with the United States is important but the majority of our air traffic is heading towards Europe, Asia and Australia, where the largest percentage of tourists come from," he said. He added that he expected Emirates to post similar profits in 2001 as 2000, when it listed profits of $1.5 billion. — (AFP, Dubai)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)