Dubai's Al Maktoum International opens
Dubai, October 27, 2013
By Sree Bhat
Dubai opened its second passenger airport for business today with the inauguration of the seven-million-passenger capacity Al Maktoum International at the Dubai World Central (DWC), a purpose-built aerotropolis located in Jebel Ali.
The airport was opened this morning by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Following the official inauguration, he toured the new airport with dignitaries and aviation officials.
The first commercial flight, Wizz Air flight W6 2497, also arrived at the airport from Budapest, Hungary, today.
Earlier, Gulf Air, Bahrain’s national carrier, became the first passenger airline to land at the new airport with its special flight carrying Gulf Air executives and media personnel. A Jazeera Airways flight also landed at the airport carrying officials for the inauguration ceremony.
“Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central will play a vital role in the future development of Dubai as a centre for trade, commerce, transport and logistics and tourism. I am impressed by the efficiency and convenience of this new terminal,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and chairman of Dubai Airports, in a statement.
“The opening of this facility signals the historic beginning of a long-term plan to build the largest airport in the world to accommodate the tremendous passenger growth and contribute to the continued economic and social development of Dubai,” he said.
The new passenger terminal offers full retail as well as food and beverage amenities. It is serviced by one A380-capable runway and 64 remote aircraft stands.
Addressing a press conference at the new airport, Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths said the opening of the new airport is the fulfilment of a vision that is focussed on making Dubai the hub of intercontinental air travel.
He said three airlines have already announced plans to fly to six destinations from the airport. Talks are under way with many more airlines for starting operations from the airport.
"The location, convenience and compact nature of DWC are compelling attributes,” said Griffiths. “Airline and customer interest in this airport continues to grow and we hope to announce additional services in the near future.”
Speaking on the possibility of Dubai's Emirates airline starting operations from the airport, Griffiths said the airline needs hub facilities which the airport does not yet offer. The new airport could have such facilities in the next phase of its development and this will encourage Emirates to move to Al Maktoum International, he said.
He said the airport offers one of the lowest landing costs in the world for airlines.
Griffiths ruled out the closure of the Dubai International and said the two airports are well prepared to meet the expected passenger flow if Dubai is selected as the host city for World Expo 2020.
Wizz Air, which provides low-cost air transport across 30 countries with 16 bases across Europe, will provide non-stop services linking Al Maktoum to Central and Eastern Europe.
Kuwait's Jazeera Airways will commence operations with two weekly flights starting October 31.
Gulf Air, Bahrain's national carrier, will be the first full-service carrier to fly into Al Maktoum International when the airline commences a daily service from Bahrain on December 8. - TradeArabia News Service