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Dubai Airport to invest in $7.8 billion expansion

Dubai Airport has been given the green light for a plan to spend a whopping $7.8 billion over the next 10 years, expanding airspace and airport capacity. It is expected the number of passengers going through the airport per year will rise from 60 million to 90 million by 2018.

The plans include new terminal space twice the size of Heathrow’s Terminal 5, a new taxiway and a 60% increase in the number of aircraft stands. A new concourse – a third, adding to the current two – opening next year is already due to increase passenger numbers to 75 million a year, and these new plans will further add to this up to the planned 90 million.

The development is a result of a ten-year traffic forecast at the airport, which predicts a 7% rise in passenger traffic per year for the next 10 years. In order to meet these demands, expansion was needed.

Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Airport, said: “The combination of rallying tourism, Dubai’s proximity to the emerging economies of India and China, and the emirate’s established role as a trading hub, is together expected to drive traffic growth and further elevate Dubai’s status as a global centre for aviation.”

He added: “By 2020, 98.5 million passengers and over four million tonnes of air freight will pass through our airports. The fleets and networks of Emirates and flydubai will grow considerably to accommodate traffic and capture market share. Similarly, our infrastructure must expand to enable this growth and facilitate the trade, tourism and commerce that in turn will support the prosperity of Dubai.”

Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, said: “A firm commitment to our 2020 plan has now been made, which is very crucial for us to move ahead”. Mr Griffiths went on to explain that aviation jobs would be accounting for a massive 22 per cent of Dubai’s total employment and 32 per cent of the United Arab Emirates’ GDP by 2020.