By Andy Sambidge
Aviation chiefs revise projections upwards as demand soars, facilities continue to grow
The operator of airports in Dubai has revised upwards its growth projections to 126 million passengers by 2020 as aviation demand continues to soar.
Growth is pushing the Dubai Airports - operator of Dubai International and Al Maktoum International in Dubai World Central - to expand, according to Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.
Speaking at the Future of Border International Conference in Dubai, he said: "Our revised projections for 2020 now exceed 126 million passengers. By 2030, we expect to have around 200 million passengers traffic."
Dubai International is currently the world's number one airport for international passengers and the sixth busiest. Al Maktoum International Airport in DWC, which presently has five to seven million passengers capacity, saw 845,046 passengers passing through its gates in its first full year of operations in 2014.
DWC will have a passenger capacity of 220 million on completion of its second phase. The first phase of $32 billion dollar expansion of DWC will enable the facility to accommodate 120 million passengers on completion over the next six to eight years.
In his presentation, Griffiths said: "We will have to come up with other solutions to satisfy Dubai's continued thirst for growth. In Dubai, we are building, not talking about building. An unwavering vision to build not just an airport but an engine of economic growth and vital to the growth of the city."
Situated on a 140 sq km site to the south of Dubai, Al Maktoum International will be 10 times larger than the site of Dubai International, making it the world's largest airport and the world's largest intercontinental hub.
The $7.8 billion investment will to lead to ultimate capacity of 100 million passengers at the Dubai International. Last year, it recorded 70.4 million passengers, an increase of 6.1 per cent and this year expected to handle 79 million passengers.
Griffiths said the design challenges are focused on four key areas - Passenger Experience, Airline Product, Airport Processes and Facilities.
In 2013, aviation contributed $26.7 billion to the economy of Dubai or 27 percent of the emirate's GDP. About 416,500 people rely on aviation activities for the livelihood which works out to 27 percent of the total workforce in Dubai.
"The vision for aviation remains single minded and utterly focused on building that contribution at a faster rate than any other activity in Dubai," Griffiths said.
By 2030, the aviation's contribution to the Dubai economy will have increased to $88 billion, more than three times the 2013 figure.
He addded: "By then more than one in three of the workforce will be in an aviation-related job."
Giving details of Dubai airport operations, Griffiths said as many as 192,000 people come through the airport every day on 980 flights.
Concourse A was delivered in 2013 and boosted the airport's capacity to 75 million, but the passenger traffic is again approaching the capacity limit, he said.
He added: "Again we are delivering more infrastructure. The final piece of hitherto undeveloped infrastructure space within the airport is nearing completion. This year, we will open Concourse D, home to the airport's overseas airline partners.
"There is a clear and determined vision, unchanged for over 50 years, to create an aviation enterprise with the world's greatest airports, hosting the world's greatest airlines, in the world's greatest city."