An eight square kilometre cargo facility able to handle 16 million tonnes a year is to be built at Dubai World Central (DWC) Al Maktoum International Airport, as part of a 120 billion dirham ($32 billion) expansion plan approved by the prime minister and vice president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The cargo facilities will be at the airport’s Southern end for easier access. Details of the facilities are still being refined as part of the planning of the DWC project. In 2013 the airport handled 2.4 million tonnes of cargo, up 6.8 per cent on 2012 when it handled 2.2 million tonnes.
The expanded airport will cover 56 square kilometres. The first phase of its development will involve, two new runways being built at a length of 4.5 kilometres each, 200 widebody aircraft contact stands and 100 stands each for code E and code F aircraft, codes which refer to aircraft of the size of the Boeing 747-400 and the Boeing 747-8F, respectively. This first phase is expected to take between six and eight years to build.
The final phase will include two more new runways, another 400 widebody aircraft stands and 200 more stands each for the code E and code F aircraft. The final phase will include the expanded cargo facilities. Chief executive officer of Dubai Airports, Paul Griffiths, says: “With limited options for further growth at Dubai International, we are taking that next step to securing our future by building a brand new airport that will not only create the capacity we will need in the coming decades, but also provide state of the art facilities.”
Griffiths says the development is a, “timely and strong endorsement of Dubai’s aviation industry,” and a, “vital investment in the future of Dubai”. He says aviation is expected to support more than 322,000 jobs and contribute 28 per cent of Dubai’s gross domestic produce by 2020. No timeframe has been given for when the final phase, which includes the cargo expansion, is expected to be completed.