There are few CEOs in the world watching their figures rise and footprint expand as fast as Paul Griffiths. If there wasn’t so much work to be done to accommodate the unparalleled growth, he could seriously sit tight and simply watch the numbers climb unaided.
Since being appointed CEO of Dubai Airports in 2007, Dubai International Airport passenger numbers have doubled to 66 million and they are expected to treble by the end of the decade. Last year, Dubai International overtook Hong Kong International Airport as the second busiest in the world and it will easily leap frog London’s Heathrow by 2015.
The only thing that could stop this fast-paced growth is capacity, and that’s where Griffiths has his work cut out for him. Not only is Dubai International continuously expanding, Griffiths also is involved in the new facility, Dubai World Central — Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC), which will become the largest airport in the world with a capacity of 160 million passengers when it is completed.
With HH Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum declaring the emirate’s intention to double tourist numbers in Dubai to 20 million by 2020 and Dubai-based airlines Emirates and flydubai both vigorously expanding there is no end in sight for the aviation industry’s growth in the emirate.
In fact, as Griffiths reveals to CEO Middle East, Dubai Airports and the government are now looking beyond even DWC’s completion, to 2045. Barely a company or government in the world has such ambitious foresight.
“We’re now working on a master plan which will see how we can produce the right amount of capacity for Dubai’s aviation growth up to 2045, so we are thinking a long way ahead here, and there are plenty of options,” Griffiths says. “I think the sky’s the limit, really, as far as the possibilities are concerned.”
The final engineering and design of DWC are still being finalised and Griffiths says there is potential to complete the project before its forecast date of 2027.
“We’re working through the designs at the moment and I think the big challenge is, how quickly can we bring that to market,” he says.
Article continued on next page