Dubai is considering plans to develop projects at Dubai World Central (DWC) using the public-private partnership (PPP) model.

Various options to finance the development of the DWC complex, which includes Dubai’s second international airport, are being considered. A source close to the project says “all models are possible”, including the use of PPPs. 

The masterplan for the DWC complex incorporates the Al-Maktoum airport and six clustered zones including Dubai Logistics, Residential, Commercial, Aviation and Golf City. The development is connected to Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port via a logistics corridor.

The costs for the entire development are to exceed $32bn (AED117bn), and given such a high level of investment, traditional methods of raising finance may not be adequate. If key decision-makers could get “comfortable” with an alternative means of financing, the PPP model could be “very successful”, says the a source.

Phase 1 of the airport development has been completed, with one runway in operation. Once all phases of the project are completed, the airport will have four passenger terminals, five parallel runways and a capacity of 160 million passengers a year.

The purpose of the DWC airport is to ease congestion at Dubai International airport, which is set to reach its full 90 million passenger capacity by 2018. However, capacity at DWC will have to reach between 80 million and 120 million passengers a year before traffic from Emirates airlines is migrated over to the new airport.

DWC is already reporting increasing volumes of cargo passing through the airport. Figures released by operator Dubai Airports, show triple-digit growth in the third quarter this year.

Cargo volumes reached 58,423 tonnes in the third quarter of 2012, compared with 26,570 tonnes in the same period last year, marking an increase of 120 per cent.

Year-to-date freight traffic increased by 178 per cent from 59,204 tonnes recorded in the first nine months of 2011 and 164,757 tonnes in the same period this year.

The growth is being put down to the introduction of several chartered and scheduled services at the end of 2011, as well as a growing awareness of the benefits of the airport’s links with Jebel Ali port and freezone. DWC has 36 carriers signed up and operating to date, with negotiations with other carriers continuing.