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Airport Show: Sheikh Ahmed confirms new airport opening date

Posted 16 May 2009 · Add Comment

Dubai's flagship construction project - the 140 square kilometre aviation city Dubai World Central - will go live in June 2010 according to the emirate's aviation supremo.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum is chairman of Dubai Aviation City as well as being head of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and chairman of Emirates Airlines.

His public commitment  to the project should put an end to the mounting speculation that the $75 billion project was facing further and possible indefinite delays. According to Sheikh Ahmed the first phase of the urban aviation city under construction in south west Dubai will be led by the operational opening of Al Maktoum International Airport in June next year. Currently being built 40 kilometres from the existing Dubai International Airport the project is almost twice the size of Hong Kong Island.

The first of the runways is taking shape

Sheikh Ahmed made his statement as leaders from the airport industry began arriving in the UAE for this week’s Airport Show, which is held, from May 19-21 at Dubai Airport Expo.  His statement will give reassurance to many who have questioned Dubai’s commitment to the project as the world recession bites.
“Our vision for Dubai is to be an unparalleled global commercial, trade and transportation hub with a unique integrated multi-modal logistics platform in DWC which will change all known air, land and sea transportation parameters,” said Sheikh Ahmed.
“At the core of this airport city will be the world’s largest airport, DWC-Al Maktoum International, which once operational next year will not only draw business and trade to it but also create huge residential and commercial opportunities.

“While we have extended the opening date of the project to accommodate all related construction, licensing and regulatory standards, we have not lost sight of the long-term vision of Dubai’s most strategically important infrastructure development which is designed to support Dubai’s aviation, tourism, commercial and logistics requirements until 2050 and beyond.”

Dubai Aviation City Corporation incorporates both Dubai World Central and Dubai Airports Company.

Meanwhile, Dubai Logistics City (DLC), a core component of DWC’s multi-modal proposition, has begun licensing completed warehouses and logistics offices and handing over facilities to tenants to commence operations on-site.

At the airport, the construction of the first of its 16 cargo terminals has been completed, well on its way to achieving the project’s ultimate goal of having an annual cargo capacity of 12 million tonnes. With a capacity of 200,000 tonnes and spread over 41,000 square metres of built up area, the terminal’s capacity can be expanded to 600,000 tonnes, if required.

“The completion of Dubai World Central’s first cargo terminal is a significant milestone in the project’s history,” said Sheikh Ahmed. “Dubai’s forward looking government continues to support DWC’s thrust towards building a facility which will not only enable trade and commerce to continue in these troubled economic times, but also look positively at how DWC can support the future of business in the Middle East.”

The first passenger terminal is now 80% complete

The first passenger terminal too is 80% complete with MEP works ongoing. This terminal will have an eventual capacity of seven million passengers with the airport’s ultimate capacity being 160 million annually.

“Construction on all related infrastructure works is continuing with all our stakeholders recognising the fact that Dubai World Central is a committed Dubai government project; and once the global economic recession tides out its cycle, work towards its final master plan will resume at its original pace,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

Another major achievement is the construction of the Middle East’s tallest free standing Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower which has been completed. Currently, the tower is being fitted with all navigational aids.

Standing at 91 metres, the ATC facility also includes a separate technical block of 6,000 square metres which will house offices, operations, technical rooms, flight simulators and a meteor observation cabin.

The Air Traffic Control tower is the tallest in the Middle East

In addition, the facility has an airside/landside interface with secured access to airside, offering air traffic controllers the ability to handle multiple airborne airplanes as well as on-ground aircraft.

“The completion of construction of the ATC tower at Dubai World Central is a giant step forward for the region’s aviation sector which has constantly seen growth every year,” Sheikh Ahmed said. “The completion of these facilities indicates the progress we are making towards the opening of the airport next year and eventually of the entire development across its several components.”

When completed DWC-Al Maktoum International Airport will be the world’s biggest passenger and cargo hub, with a capacity of 160 million passengers and more than 12 million tonnes of cargo annually. The airport will have five parallel runways.
As well as the airport, many aerospace companies are eyeing the progress with the allied DWC Aviation City which the government says will be the region’s premier centre of excellence for aviation manufacturing, MRO, aviation support services and consultancy, research and development, training, aviation products and parts and high tech industries. The plan is to establish a complete aviation cluster in one area to cater to the region’s aviation growth. DWC says it is strategically located to provide clients access to emerging markets as well as servicing the fast growing Middle East market.

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