Ranked as one of the world’s
fastest growing cities, Dubai boasts one of the world’s
fastest growing airports. Dubai International Airport
was visited by a total of 21.7 million passengers in
2004, a figure which represented an increase of over 20
per cent over the previous year. And the flow of
passengers is likely to continue to rise.
undergoing a US$ 4.1 billion expansion, which will see
the construction of a third terminal alongside the
upgrade of the currently existing Terminal 2, as well as
a cargo mega terminal and two new Concourses, Dubai
International Airport will be able to handle over 70
million passengers annually in 2008, when the expansion
will be over.
Having all these
staggering figures in mind, it is hard to imagine the
city needs additional airport infrastructure. Yet,
according to civil planning experts who are looking well
ahead into the 21st century, it does need
Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime
Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has ordered the
construction of another mega project – the Dubai
International Airport City project at Jebel Ali and
construction has already started.
Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of
Dubai and Minister of Defence, UAE, was briefed about
the project by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum,
President of the Department of Civil Aviation and
Chairman of Emirates Group.
kilometers away from the already existing Dubai
International Airport, the project
was initially supposed
to begin in 10 years’ time. However, the rapid growth of
the city has made civil planners fast-track its
commencement into the present days and work on it has
Airport City project will spread to some 140 square
kilometres. At the heart of the project will be one of
the world’s largest airports, which, when completed,
will have an annual capacity of 120 million passengers
and 12 million tonnes of cargo.
airport will be surrounded by several smaller cities
which will offer office space and other facilities to
the financial, industrial, service and tourism
industries. The airport and the surrounding
infrastructure will cater to the industries that are
progressively being established around the Jebel Ali
world-class infrastructure has for a long time been a
major factor in the government’s efforts to spur
economic growth and prosperity. Dubai International
Airport City is expected to emulate the huge success of
the neighboring Jebel Ali Port, which is the largest
man-made harbor in the world with 67 berths and
extensive dry-dock capability. When completed in 1979,
Jebel Ali Port ranked alongside the Great Wall of China
and the Hoover Dam as the only three man-made objects
that can be seen from space. Although complementing Port
Rashid in terms of trade and transshipments, the concept
of Jebel Ali was geared more towards industrial
development and soon attracted major aluminum, gas and
Establishing the surrounding
Jebel Ali Free Zone made the location a magnet for
international businesses looking for the best
facilities, cheaper overheads and the freedom to operate
with an offshore status. At present, the Jebel Ali Free
Zone is home to many global brand leaders such as Black
& Decker, PFAFF, Colgate-Palmolive, Nestle, HJ Heinz,
Unilever, Nivea, L’Oreal, BP, Shell, BASF, Honda,
Nissan, Mitsubishi, Acer, Bose, JVC, Toshiba, Sanyo,
Yamaha, Sony, Matsushita, Philips, Siemens, Nokia, and
With the completion of the new
airport, which will offer a large number of warehouse
facilities, strong and effective road network with easy
access to the free zones and industrial parks, the area
will become the largest air-sea logistics and
transportation centre of its kind in the Middle East.
The Airport City complex will also facilitate smooth and
efficient cargo flows, in turn boosting industrial
development around the complex.
strategic road network will link the airport to other
parts of the UAE as well as some of the other Gulf
countries, in turn giving Airport City-based businesses
easy access to all the affluent markets in the region.
With its enormous
logistical potential the project will also be of great
significance to projects such as Dubai Aid City, which
has set itself the ambitious goal of becoming a hub for
international aid organizations looking to store,
stockpile and distribute aid cargo via sea, land or air
to locations around the world. When the new airport
complex is completed, Dubai Aid City will boast a
strategic location, which augurs well for its success.
The International Airport City will also be connected to
projects such as the Techno Park and the Dubai
serving Dubai’s ever-growing industrial sector, the new
airport is also designed to cater to the city’s growing
travel and tourism demands. Its proximity to the ‘New
Dubai’ area means it has the potential to become a hub
for tourists heading for some of the leisure and
entertainment projects currently being built in this
area such as the multi-billion dollar Dubailand and the
Palm Islands in Jumeirah and Jebel Ali. The new airport
is very good news for budget carriers, which currently
do not have access to the busy Dubai International
airport and the surrounding infrastructure will be
completed in phases. The first phase, costing US$ 547
million (Dhs2 billion) will include one runway as well
as Dubai Logistics City, which is designed to become the
world’s largest multi-modal logistics hub for air, sea
and road services.
the focus will be on cargo requirements. The airport
will consist of a number of terminals, six parallel
runways, a large area for cargo and two main entrances.
All facilities will be equipped to handle new generation
aircraft including the new super jumbo Airbus A380.
airport will be encompassed by a carefully designed and
integrated complex that will cater to businesses and
tourists alike. This diverse, urban environment will be
organised into ‘cities’ featuring aviation, logistics,
commercial, residential, educational, recreational,
technology and entertainment facilities.
project envisages the creation of Commercial City, which
will be the financial and business heart of the Airport
City project and will form a breathtaking new Dubai
skyline with a high-rise area featuring over 850 towers.
part of the project is Aviation City, which the Civil
Aviation Authority would like to see become the regional
headquarters for leading aviation industry companies,
including suppliers, maintenance specialists and
manufacturers. A development to serve the industrial and
technological sectors is also envisioned.
International Airport City will also offer a wide range
of residential properties – from luxury estates to
affordable apartments and airport staff housing.
Commercial and community services for residents will
also be available. Golf enthusiasts will also be catered
for as, according to the plans, the project will include
the region’s largest golf course.
world-class infrastructure has been a major factor in
Dubai’s bid for economic prosperity and development. The
new Dubai International Airport City project is yet one
more step in a strategy to make the emirate a leading
global destination for tourists and entrepreneurs alike.