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Al Maktoum Airport will be expanded by Dubai to become the biggest airport in the world

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Al Maktoum International Airport/Dubai World Center (DWC) is now undergoing plans for expansion, making it the largest airport in the world.

DWC development is “definitely needed,” according to Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, which manages DWC and Dubai International Airport (DXB), as airlines would “at some point” overrun DXB’s capacity.

“We will need a new terminal at DWC but the affordability of it, when we will need it, the capacity it needs to be – these are very much open questions based on the forecast of how quickly Emirates, flydubai and other airlines are going to grow over the next decade,” Griffiths told The National during the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Istanbul, Turkey.

A new passenger terminal at DWC will be part of the airport’s expansion, adding to the existing passenger facilities. A $33 billion expansion plan for DWC, which was developed in 2014, was previously shelved by Dubai.

Tim Clark, the president of Emirates, stated at the same IATA AGM, “If we have our way, it [DWC – ed. note] will be built by 2032-2033.

“As we grow the business, we reckoned we were at critical mass a few years ago, but now I think we’re not really at critical mass, simply because our terminal structures and airports won’t allow us to do that,” he continued.

Dubai South, an urban master development project in the city’s south, made the following brief announcement on Twitter on June 5, 2023: “#DubaiSouth will be home to the world’s largest airport once complete, and a multi-modal transport infrastructure linking air, land, and sea.”

A masterplan page published on the Dubai South’s website noted that the goal is to house “infrastructure dedicated to a diverse aviation ecosystem on the doorstep of Maktoum International Airport that is destined to become the world’s largest, with proximity to Jebel Ali Sea Port, Dubai International Airport [DXB] and Abu Dhabi International Airport [AUH]”.

Emirates’ present base of operations is in DXB, with little to no passenger traffic at DWC.

Dubai Airports reports that DWC handled 1.6 million passengers in 2019. The controlling business also reports that the airport served more than 650,000 travelers while DXB’s runways were being renovated between May and June 2022.

DWC received 494,000 passengers overall in Q4 2022. DXB, in contrast, saw 66 million travelers in 2022 and 86.3 million in 2019.

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