Dubai to retender Maktoum airport enabling works

20 May 2015

Contract is first part of a $33bn expansion to the airport

  • Dubai is preparing to issue update tender documents for Maktoum airport enabling works
  • MEED reported in January that the award of the enabling works was delayed
  • The $33bn expansion of the airport is Dubai’s biggest single project

Dubai is preparing to issue updated tender documents for the enabling works contract for the expansion of Al-Maktoum International airport.

The move comes after MEED reported in January that Dubai Airports Engineering Projects (DAEP) had been expected to award an enabling works contract by the end of last year. The contract covers enabling works for five new runways that involves about 70 million cubic metres of earth-moving.

The enabling works is the first part of the $33bn airport expansion to Al-Maktoum International airport was publicly launched in October last year.

The ambitious programme planned for airport will make it the biggest airport in the world by 2050 with the capacity to handle 255 million passengers a year. In early November last year, DAEP told contractors it will start tendering contracts for building work at the airport in 2015.

The planned construction work includes a new terminal building, six nodes or concourses connected to the terminal by people movers, and new runways. The terminal will also be connected to the new metro link planned by Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA).

The first phase will be the largest airport construction scheme ever undertaken in the world. Once complete, it will take the airport’s capacity to 130 million passengers a year and make it capable of accommodating 100 A380 aircraft at any one time.

Once the first phase is complete, a second phase will start that will increase the capacity further to 255 million with five runways, another terminal building and more concourses. The entire development will cover an area of 56 square kilometres and it is due to be completed by the end of 2021.

The concept design for the new terminal has been completed by a team of Lebanon’s Dar al-Handasah and France’s ADPI.

The development aims to provide the necessary facilities to accommodate passenger and cargo growth, and will also allow Emirates to relocate its intercontinental hub operations to the new airport by the mid-2020s. It is understood Emirates plans to move to the new airport in 2022.

One of the major challenges for such a large project is funding, and although some export credit, notably from the UK with a proposal of $2bn, has been pledged, more financing will have to be secured if the project is to be completed as planned.

Al-Maktoum International is needed to further develop Dubai’s status as a global aviation hub, as growth opportunities at Dubai International airport are becoming limited due to its location in the city. That airport is already one of the busiest in the world.

Dubai International dealt with about 71 million passengers in 2014, surpassing London Heathrow as the world’s busiest airport by international passenger traffic.

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