Company CEO says no plans to constrain growth amid Dubai debt situation.
Dubai Airports, the government-owned airfield operator, plans to seek approval for expansion plans costing “billions of dirhams”.
The company will make a recommendation on boosting capacity within the next few months, CEO Paul Griffiths said on Sunday in an interview in Singapore. He declined to elaborate further on the costs.
Dubai plans to press ahead with expanding its current airport and building a new one, even after having to get help from neighbor Abu Dhabi to pay off debts used to finance real estate projects.
Aviation generates as much as 25 percent of the emirate’s economy, according to Griffiths, as Dubai has invested in facilities and Emirates Airline to make up for a lack of oil reserves.
“Dubai’s vision, attitude towards airport infrastructure is that if you constrain, the growth will go elsewhere,” he said. “So we are not going to constrain that growth.”
Dubai International Airport, the 17th-biggest worldwide in terms of passengers, handled 40.9 million travelers last year, a 9.2 percent increase. The airport operator expects passenger numbers to rise 13.6 percent this year to 46 million.
The airport’s capacity is due to rise to 75 million passengers a year from 60 million in 2012. That will be followed by an increase to as much as 97 million, Griffiths said.
Some 40 kilometers away, the emirate is also building the Al Maktoum Airport, which will eventually have a capacity of 120 million passengers.
Dubai pushed back the opening of the first phase of the airport to this year because of construction delays. The new airport will cost $33 billion, Griffiths has said.
Dubai and its state-owned companies borrowed at least $80 billion until 2008 to transform the emirate into a tourism and financial hub.