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Dubai’s Al Maktoum Airport To Become World’s Largest and Busiest

Daniel Ross's image
Daniel Ross
Daniel Ross's image

Daniel Ross

Senior Content Contributor

660 Published Articles 1 Edited Article

Countries Visited: 56U.S. States Visited: 17

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points...
Edited by: Stella Shon
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Stella Shon

News Managing Editor

94 Published Articles 672 Edited Articles

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With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...

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Dubai is set to be the center of the aviation world.

The green light has been given for the second phase of a $35 billion project that will transform Dubai’s Al Maktoum World Center Airport into the world’s largest.

“Today, we approved the designs for the new passenger terminal at Al Maktoum International Airport, and commencing construction of the building at a cost of AED 128 billion as part of Dubai Aviation Corporation’s strategy,” said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai.

Here are the details.

World’s Biggest Airport Coming to Dubai

In the U.A.E., bigger is always better.

Al Maktoum Airport is currently Dubai’s second airport used primarily by low-cost airlines, for cargo movements, and events such as the Dubai Airshow.

Given capacity constraints at Dubai International Airport (DXB) — the city’s current main hub — the land around Al Maktoum has been selected for a new mega airport. When fully operational, there’ll be a total of 400 gates at 5 terminals to facilitate the volume of air traffic movements that the 5 parallel runways will make possible.

Dubai Airport DWC inside
An artist’s impression of what we can expect from inside the new Dubai World Center Airport. Image Credit: Dubai Government

With that, the Al Maktoum Airport will have the capacity to handle 260 million passengers annually. To put that into context, that’s almost triple the number of passengers through Dubai’s main airport in 2023.

The project also includes the construction of more housing and commercial infrastructure close to the airport which has already been underway since 2007.

“The development of this new airport will be an integral part of Dubai’s economy and major contributor to the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33),” said His Excellency Khalifa Al Zaffin, executive chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation. “It will generate estimated workforce and residential requirement for over a million people living and working in Dubai South (the aerotropolis), which has been under development and operation since 2007.”

We would expect there to be an additional update on plans to extend the Dubai Metro as the current closest station is Expo 2020, which is around 12 miles from the airport.

Bottom Line:

There has been no mention of a potential completion date, though it’s estimated that all airport operations in Dubai will be through DWC within 10 years.

Final Thoughts

Being the second busiest airport in the world isn’t enough for Dubai.

Within the next 10 years, we can expect a so-called “aerotropolis” at Dubai’s Al Maktoum Airport to facilitate the most flights in the world. We’ll be sure to keep you updated as more information about the project is revealed.

Daniel Ross's image

About Daniel Ross

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points Guy, and more.


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