Not enough air to go around? The region's new airport frenzy raises air capacity issue
Dubai Airports and Al Maktoum International are ready to hold discussions on how to manage the region’s bustling aviation sector as the region reaches closer to airspace capacity.
Over the coming years Abu Dhabi and Doha will each open their own new airports servicing their respective nationals carrier and other airlines.
With airspace capacity a challenge for not only Dubai Airports but all regional players, Griffiths said there would need to be further discussions with aviation authorities and the airports on how they will be able to cater to the expanding market.
However, looking beyond the Gulf, Griffiths does not see the development of a new airport in Istanbul, Turkey, as a threat to Dubai Airport’s expansion plans because he said the two airports were catering to different markets.
According to reports, the new Istanbul airport will open in 2017 with a capacity of 90 million passengers a year. It is slated to be have a six runways and a final cmpacity of 150 million passengers a year.
But Al Maktoum is set to go bigger — the new airport will have a capacity of 160 million passengers a year but this number could be stretched to 200 million in later stages of the development.
Al Maktoum International has been floated as an alternative for airlines that could have their services to Dubai reduced next year when Dubai International undergoes important runway repairs from May 1 to July 20, 2014. The repair works are scheduled during the European summer — one of the busiest periods for the global aviation industry.
Griffiths said Al Maktoum will have enough capacity for every single request for airlines seeking alternatives during the runway repairs with a number of airlines having already put in schedules in for May–June next year.
Jazeera Airways have previously said they would not be shifting their operations to the new airport during runway repairs and Qantas — an Emirates partner — previously said it expected to operate solely from Dubai International during this period.
Griffiths said on Sunday the opening of the new airport was an “historic moment for Dubai’s aviation strategy.”
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