Dubai to start Al Maktoum airport construction

05 June 2024
The project client, Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects, received contractors' interest for the infrastructure works last month

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Dubai is expected to start the construction works on the new passenger terminal as part of the $35bn expansion of Al Maktoum International airport by the end of this month.

Media reports citing Emirates president Tim Clark said, “the work is expected to commence in the next two to three weeks”.

In May, Dubai invited contractors to express interest in the project's infrastructure works.

The project client, Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects, issued the expression of interest notice last month and the last date for submission was 20 May.

Dubai approved the updated designs and timelines for its largest construction project in April.

Covering an area of 70 square kilometres in the south of Dubai, the airport will have five parallel runways and five terminal buildings with a total of 400 aircraft gates. It will be five times the size of the existing Dubai International airport and have the world’s largest passenger handling capacity of 260 million passengers a year. For cargo, it will have the capacity to handle 12 million tonnes a year.

The government of Dubai said that the plan is for all operations from Dubai International airport to be transferred to Al Maktoum International airport within 10 years.

The government statement added that the project will create housing demand for 1 million people around the airport.

Project history

The expansion of Al Maktoum International airport is a long-standing project. Also known as Dubai World Central (DWC), it was officially launched in 2014, with a different design to the one approved in April 2024. Back then, it involved building the biggest airport in the world by 2050, with the capacity to handle 255 million passengers a year.

An initial phase, due to be completed in 2030, involved increasing the airport’s capacity to 130 million passengers a year. The development was to cover an area of 56 square kilometres.

Progress on the project slipped as the region grappled with the impact of lower oil prices and Dubai focused on developing the Expo 2020 site. Tendering for work on the project then stalled with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020.

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