Dubai is expected to decide whether to replace or expand Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 2 to accommodate passenger growth within the by the end of May.

Terminal 2 is currently used for regional operations, charter services and pilgrimage flights and has an annual capacity of three million to five million passengers.

According to local media reports, Khalifa al-Zaffin, managing director of Dubai World Central, says that an expansion of Terminal 2 would increase its capacity to seven million passengers a year while replacing the terminal with a new facility would increase passenger-handling capacity to 20 million passengers a year. A decision is expected by the end of May.

Dubai International Airport currently consists of three terminals with a total capacity of 60 million passengers a year.

The emirate aims to become a major transport hub with the first phase of Dubai’s Al-Maktoum International Airport scheduled to open on 27 June for cargo operations initially with passenger operations to follow (MEED 24:2:10).

The airport is part of the $33bn Dubai World Central development near Jebel Ali. The scheme will include a centre for logistics companies and residential developments.

A consortium of the local Arabtec Construction and Malaysia’s WCT Engineering won the construction contract for the airport terminal in 2006.

Once complete, Al-Maktoum International Airport will be able to handle 160 million passengers a year.

Dubai carrier Emirates Group could delay its relocation to Al-Maktoum International by as much as 10 years. With a series of investments under way at Dubai International Airport that will increase capacity to 90 million passengers a year from a previous estimate of 75 million, Emirates says it can still benefit from operating out of the old airport (MEED 25:3:10).