The passenger terminal at Dubai’s new Al-Maktoum International airport officially opened on 27 October when it welcomed its first commercial flight.

The airport will further enhance Dubai’s role as a transport hub for both tourists visiting the region and travellers connecting to other routes.

“Dubai is so singularly focused on making its mark on the future of intercontinental air travel,” said Paul Griffiths, chief executive officer of the airport operator, Dubai Airports, at a press conference following the opening.

“It is very significant when you contrast what is happening here today with other parts of the world where aviation does not take its rightful place as a stimulus for the economy and as an absolute essential part of social mobility,” he said.

Hungary-based low-cost airline Wizz Air is the first carrier to use the new facility, with its aircraft from Budapest landing successfully at the airport located close to Jebel Ali Port in Dubai.

Two other airlines will begin to operate flights from the airport, including Kuwait’s privately-owned Jazeera Airways on 31 October and Bahrain’s Gulf Air from 8 December.

Following the opening, Qatar Airways announced they would offer twice-daily flights to Al Maktoum from March 2014.

Saudi Arabia’s low-cost airline Nasair has also signed a preliminary agreement with Al-Maktoum to operate flights to the airport, but is yet to confirm a start date and is said to be reviewing its options.

The new Al Maktoum airport terminal was completed in 2012. Cargo operations at the facility began in 2010.

The airport has one A380 compatible runway and a capacity to handle 5 million passengers per year, expandable to 7 million passengers. The airport operator, Dubai Airports, is currently finalising a masterplan that will outline the phase 2 expansion plans for the airport.

The operator’s long-term goal is to offer a passenger capacity of 160 million passengers per year by 2020s.