Dubai plans to move its airport to a new $35 billion facility within 10 years

Dubai International Airport, the world's busiest airport for international travel, will move its operations to the city-state's second sprawling airport in its southern desert “within the next 10 years” in a project worth about $35 billion, the ruler of Dubai announced on Sunday.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's announcement represents the latest chapter in long-haul carrier Emirates' recovery after the coronavirus pandemic brought international travel to a halt. Plans have been in place for years to move the airport's operations, known as DXB, to Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai World Central, which were also delayed due to the fallout from the emirate's 2009 economic crisis.

“We are building a new project for future generations, ensuring the continuous and stable development of our children and their children in turn,” Sheikh Mohammed said in an online statement. “Dubai will be the world’s airport, port, urban center and new global hub.”

The ad included computer-rendered images of a curved white limb reminiscent of traditional Bedouin tents in the Arabian Peninsula. The announcement stated that the airport will include five parallel runways and 400 aircraft gates. The airport now has only two runways, like Dubai International.

The financial health of Emirates Airlines It has served as a barometer for the aviation industry around the world and the broader economic health of this city-state. Dubai and the airline have quickly rebounded from the pandemic by pushing ahead with tourism even as some countries emerge more slowly from the pandemic crisis.

The number of passengers traveling through Dubai International Airport increased last year Exceeds its total for 2019 with 86.9 million passengers. Annual traffic for 2019 was 86.3 million passengers. The airport welcomed 89.1 million passengers in 2018, its busiest year on record before the pandemic, while 66 million passengers passed through it in 2022.

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Earlier in February, Dubai announced its best-ever tourism numbers, saying it hosted 17.15 million international overnight visitors in 2023. Hotel occupancy averaged about 77%. The boom-and-bust real estate market continues to be on a hot streakapproaching the highest ratings ever.

But with passenger numbers rising dramatically, it has once again put new pressure on capacity at Dubai International Airport, which remains constrained on all sides by residential neighborhoods and two major highways.

Al Maktoum International Airport, which is about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Dubai International Airport, opened in 2010 with a single terminal. It served as a parking lot for Emirates' double-decker Airbus A380s and other aircraft during the pandemic, and slowly came back to life with cargo and private flights at the time. It also hosts the Dubai Airshow, which is held every two years It has a vast, empty desert to expand into.

This technical rendering from the Dubai government shows plans for Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  Dubai International Airport, the world's busiest airport for international travel, will move its operations to the sprawling second airport in the southern desert city-state. "During the next ten years" In a project worth about $35 billion, its ruler said on Sunday, April 28, 2024. (Dubai Government via Associated Press)

This technical rendering from the Dubai government shows plans for Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Dubai Government via AP) (News agency)

Sheikh Mohammed's announcement indicated Dubai's plans to expand south. Indeed, hers Near the Expo 2020 site Homes have been offered to buyers.

“As we build an entire city around the airport in Dubai South, the demand for housing for a million people will follow,” the ruler of Dubai said. “It will host leading international companies in the logistics and air transport sectors.”

But financial pressures have halted the move in the past. Dubai's 2009 financial crisis, triggered by the Great Recession, forced Abu Dhabi to provide a $20 billion bailout for the emirate.

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Meanwhile, the city-state is still trying to recover from the crisis The heaviest rain ever recorded in the United Arab EmiratesThis led to the disruption of flights and trade for several days.

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