By Robeel Haq
Dubai's Al Maktoum Int'l Airport is set to cement the Middle East's position as a global aviation hub.
Following years of preparation, Dubai finally opened the doors to its ground-breaking Al Maktoum International Airport last month, which is set to cement the Middle East's position as a global aviation hub.
Dubai marked its transition into a two-airport city last month, with the much-awaited launch of cargo operations at Al Maktoum International. A diverse range of cargo carriers have registered to operate in the airport - which is part of the multi-billion dollar Dubai World Central development - including Aban Air, ACI, Aerospace Consortium, Aviation Service Management, Coyne Airways, EuroAsian Services, Rus Aviation, Sonic Jet, SunGlobal, Skyline and United Aviation Services.
To celebrate the launch, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and the ruler of Dubai, and his son Sheikh Hamdan Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai, were provided a royal tour, alongside HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and chairman of Dubai Airports. "Phase one is the first step in a long infrastructure development project that over time will see our new airport transformed into the world's largest global gateway and a multi-modal logistics hub, while playing an increasingly integral role in the ongoing economic and social development of Dubai," comments Sheikh Ahmed.
"The inauguration of Al Maktoum International serves as a timely reminder to regional and international stakeholders of the strength of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, who continues to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to meeting the long-term infrastructure growth and capital requirements of our city."
Sheikh Ahmed also reinforces the fact that Dubai World Central will support the emirate's aviation, tourism, commercial and logistics requirements through 2050 and beyond. "The Government of Dubai remains fully committed to the timely realisation of the airport and Dubai World Central as whole. There is no doubt that this multi-modal logistics hub will provide significant benefits to the economy of Dubai and the wider region, particularly at a time when the transportation and logistics sector is playing an increasingly important role in the city's rapidly diversifying economy."
The initial phase of the airport will feature an A380 capable runway, 64 remote stands, a cargo terminal with annual capacity for 250,000 tonnes of freight, and a passenger terminal building designed to accommodate five million passengers per year. "Although it's a long-term project, the need for a second airport in the near to mid-term is clear," states Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.
"Dubai International currently has capacity for 2.5 million tonnes of cargo, while volumes are expected increase to 3 million tonnes by 2015. On the passenger side we expect to see numbers skyrocket from the 41 million that passed through Dubai International in 2009 to 98 million by 2020 and 150 million by 2030."
Griffiths adds that the new airport's facilities and connectivity to the Jebel Ali Port and Jebel Ali Free Zone by a bonded road is being acknowledged by adopting airlines. "We are delighted with the response from cargo operators who are seizing the opportunity. DWC opened with 15 cargo airlines signed up and we expect that number to increase steadily over the next few months."
The airport's opening was preceded by the presentation of DWC's official aerodrome certification to Sheikh Ahmed from Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, director general of General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), which followed a detailed aviation safety and security certification programme. "This is the 8th International Aerodrome within the United Arab Emirates to receive a certification from the GCAA," states Al Suwaidi. "In addition to the aerodrome being certified, DWC was the first to obtain organisation certificates for air traffic services, communication, navigation and surveillance, aeronautical information services and aviation meteorology services."
Once completed, Al Maktoum International will be the largest airport in the world, with five runways, four terminal buildings and annual facilitation for a total of 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo.
Maximus Air Cargo's Antonov 124-100 lands at Dubai World Central
Abu Dhabi-based Maximus Air Cargo landed its Antonov 124-100 at Al Maktoum International last month, making it the largest civilian aircraft to touchdown at the multi-billion dollar airport facility. "This is a symbolic occasion. As the UAE's largest all air cargo operator, we are delighted that our Antonov 124 has landed at the airport for the first time," comments Fathi H. Buhazza, president and chief executive officer of Maximus Air Cargo and founder of Care by Air. "This is the start of a long relationship and we are proud of the great vision of the United Arab Emirates in developing a global, commercial, trade and logistics hub that will facilitate the region's growth. We wholeheartedly support this vision."
ENOC Aviation refuels inaugural flight at dubai world central
The team at ENOC Aviation were celebrating their role in the launch of operations at Al Maktoum International, after the company was selected as the first supplier to provide jet fuel for aircraft at the Dubai World Central facility. Its first customer was Emirates SkyCargo, with ENOC Aviation fuelling a cargo flight from Hong Kong to Düsseldorf.
Saeed Khoory, group chief executive of ENOC, was joined by a number of senior officials from the company to mark the occasion, in addition to His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation.
"Aviation is one of the key pillars of Dubai's growth, and the opening of the Al Maktoum International Airport further adds to the market confidence on the emirate's ability to overcome challenges and deliver results," explains Saeed Khoory with a sense of pride.
"ENOC Aviation is honoured to have been the first supplier at the new airport, to provide jet fuel to the Emirates Airline cargo flight from Hong Kong to Düsseldorf. This is a powerful reiteration of Dubai's competencies across the spectrum - from managing one of the world's fastest growing airlines to focused investments in large-scale aviation infrastructure, as well as support technologies," he adds.
Dnata Cargo starts DWC ground handling services
After twelve months of preparations and thousands of man hours by its dedicated personnel, Dnata is ready to serve its customer airlines, some of which have already started flying into and out of the new Dubai World Central - Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC).
The company, which is already the ground handler for over 120 airlines at Dubai International Airport, will provide the ground handling services to all airlines at DWC. It has made significant investment in equipment in recent months and is now fully equipped to handle any type of freighter aircraft at the new location.
"In this first phase, the cargo facility, which will be known as Dnata FreightGate 8, will have a throughput of 250,000 tonnes per annum," explains Jean Pierre de Pauw, divisional senior vice president of Dnata's cargo division, whose team manages the FreightGate. "Our team has the facilities and capability to handle any type of cargo - even perishable goods - as there is a 1000 cubic metre capacity of chiller and freezer storage. Some 33 truck docks will accommodate trailers up to 40 feet long. Rollerbed and air suspension equipped trucks, capable of accommodating up to full three metre height 10ft ULDs, will ensure a swift connection with airports across the United Arab Emirates and the wider Middle East region."
Dnata will also provide full aircraft servicing, including the placement of ground and operational equipment. In addition, there is a seamless interface with various control and government authorities, including customs and the airport police, as well as security provision 24 hours a day, which the company states will provide an extra peace of mind to customers.
RUS Aviation plans relocation to Dubai World Central
RUS Aviation, a company founded and registered in the United Arab Emirates, launched its cargo operations in the 1990s with a lone Russian build freighter to customers in the Middle East and Central Asia. Today, it boasts a fleet in excess of 22 aircraft, including Airbus A300 and the modern Tupolev TU 204C, apart from it's rugged backbone, the Ilyushin IL 76.
RUS Aviation is marketing itself as a total aviation services provider on a global scale, switching more and more from charter operator to scheduled services and purchasing state-of-the-art western equipment.
According to Saleh Al Aroud, managing director of Rus Aviation, the company recognised the far-sighted vision and importance of Dubai World Central during the project's initial stages. "This is the future of the cargo industry, not only in the United Arab Emirates, but in the entire Middle East," he says. "The decision was made early to be an integral part of the venture and to leave no stone unturned to make it a success."
RUS Aviation is planning to move its entire Dubai operation to the new airport and is presently conducting an economical evaluation to shift more services to the new location.