Al Maktoum Airport steering towards becoming the biggest airport in the world

March 07, 2024

Al Maktoum International Airport, also known as Dubai World Central (DWC), aims to claim the spot of the world’s largest airport by 2050. The city's second terminal commenced cargo operations on June 27, 2010, and introduced passenger flights in October 2013. Since then, DWC has rapidly expanded and revolutionized the global aviation industry. Let’s find out everything about the futuristic hub, from its current status to its journey to becoming the biggest airport in the world.

A Transformative Journey

Al Maktoum International Airport DWC made its presence felt the day its first commercial passenger flight landed in Budapest. Fast forward through a decade marked by a pandemic and significant changes in global travel patterns, and DWC has found its niche. 

While not yet the most bustling airport, DWC has become a center for aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul. It hosts various air cargo operators, handles executive jets, and accommodates charter flights.

The passenger services are limited, with low-cost carriers primarily serving Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia. 

However, Dubai Airports’ CEO Paul Griffiths has confirmed that the "greenfield" airport is all set to embark on a new journey. Griffith shed light on the airport's evolving role in the Dubai Air Show 2023 held in Dubai World Center and provided insights into Dubai Airports' strategic vision. 

He said, “We’re going to completely change the business model for airports, make them actually far more intimate, and get rid of all the legacy processes that we’ve had to subject our customers to, for far too long.”

Dubai Air Show 2023

DWC Construction Stages

Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP), the infrastructure developer for Dubai's aviation sector started the construction of Al Maktoum International Airport DWC in 2006. Here is the multi-phased plan of the futuristic mega-hub.

Phase 1

The Dubai Airports Authority has outlined plans to conclude the first phase of the Al Maktoum Airport expansion by 2030. Phase 1 includes the development of two more runways, Concourse 1 and the West Terminal building. After the completion, the airport will welcome numerous additional airlines, including Fly Dubai and Emirates, and accommodate about 130 million passengers annually. 

To ensure a seamless experience for travelers both within and outside the airport, a 6,000-lot car park will offer extensive parking, a metro station will connect passengers from various parts of the city to DWC, and four APM (Automated People Mover) stations will facilitate passenger movement between the concourse and the terminal.

Moreover, a two-level parking facility and a secure super gate will be built to provide employees with safe and controlled access to the platform. This phase will result in a total combined built-up area of 3.5 million square meters.

Phase 2

An additional annual capacity of 20 million will be added in this phase. Concourse 2, the South Support Facilities, the second Control Tower, along with enhancements to the North Support Facilities and the West Terminal are the highlights of Phase 2.

After successfully completing these projects, DAEP aims to elevate the airport's capacity to 150 million annual passengers, with the built-up area reaching 5.4 million square meters.

Phase 3

This phase includes the construction of two other concourses, bringing the total to four, the construction of two additional runways, totaling five and further expanding the North Support Facilities to cover the entire platform. This phase will result in an aggregated built-up area of 10.5 million square meters.

About the Future - Route to Becoming the Biggest Airport in the World

After the final phase, DWC will manage an annual flow of 260 million passengers and facilitate the transportation of 15 million tones of freight. DWC's footprint is expected to be 5 times the. size of DXB, with a cover area of about 65 sq. km.

Beyond its pursuit of becoming the world's largest airport, DWC aims to serve as a beacon for the future of aviation. Operating entirely on clean energy sourced from extensive solar farms, the new airport in Dubai is committed to using cutting-edge airport technology, following sustainable design practices, and offering a benchmark-setting traveler experience. 

Growing Demand for Dubai South Properties

Dubai South is a newly developed Dubai community comprising eight sub-districts. The area is witnessing a substantial increase in land sales transactions, leading to the launch of many residential and commercial properties. Situated in the heart of Dubai South, the airport is the area's major landmark. As the airport expands, off-plan real estate sales in Dubai South are also expected to increase, as are the number of hotel developments near the airport. 

Al Maktoum Airport

Airport Expansions Across the Gulf

Dubai's ambitions align with a broader trend across the Gulf region, where various countries invest heavily in new, large-scale airport facilities. Qatar's Hamad International Airport, Oman's Muscat Airport, Bahrain's new terminal, and Abu Dhabi's Terminal A are all part of this race for global airport supremacy.

As Dubai and its regional counterparts invest in expanding and modernizing their airports, the stakes in claiming the top spot in global airport rankings have never been higher. The race is about connecting passengers and positioning these cities as international trade centers and tourist destinations. 

The journey of DWC unfolds against the backdrop of a rapidly evolving aviation landscape, with the promise of groundbreaking changes and continued excellence on the horizon. Stay tuned for more updates as we follow Dubai's ascent in the global aviation stage!

FAQs About Al Maktoum International Airport DWC

Dubai Airports Company is the airport authority that owns and manages both Al Maktoum International Airport and the Dubai International Airport.

Dubai World Central lacks direct metro connectivity. Nevertheless, a reliable alternative is provided by regular bus services connecting the airport to the Ibn Battuta metro station. Bus number F55 operates hourly during metro operational hours, and bus number F55A serves the route between the airport and Satwa Bus Station when the metro is not in operation.

No, DWC (Dubai World Central) and DXB (Dubai International Airport) are not the same; they are two distinct airports in Dubai. They are approximately 40 miles apart.

Emaar South is situated on the outskirts of Dubai South, a vast master-planned project initiated by the Dubai Government. Within Dubai South, distinct zones are allocated for commercial, aviation, and retail activities. The development encompasses numerous shops, luxury residences, and office spaces.

The world’s largest airport welcomed its first commercial passenger flight in October 2013, operated by Wizz Air from Budapest.

Currently, King Fahd International Airport in Saudi Arabia is recognized as the world's biggest airport based on land area. Nevertheless, Al Maktoum International Airport is swiftly progressing toward its goal to secure the title of the world's largest airport by 2050.

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