By Courtney Trenwith
Construction of dedicated facilities already underway, marking major milestone for new airport
Emirates SkyCargo has announced it will transfer operations to Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International Airport from May 2014.
Construction of the new state-of-the-art cargo terminal and supporting facilities has started and will include 46 truck docks and 80 truck parking spaces and 12 aircraft stands.
The first phase is expected to be completed by the beginning of April next year, with full completion by mid-September, when all of Emirates SkyCargo’s freighter fleet of ten - eight Boeing 777Fs and two Boeing 747-400ERFs – will move from Dubai International Airport.
Cargo carried in the belly of passenger planes will not be transferred to the new airport.
Dedicated road feeder services between the two airports will be built to maintain the existing transhipment times between freighters and the airline’s passenger fleet, which will remain at Dubai International Airport.
“The planned move of our freighter operations from Dubai International Airport to Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International Airport is the next step in Emirates SkyCargo’s overall expansion and growth programme,” Emirates divisional senior vice president for cargo Nabil Sultan said.
“It provides us with a brand new facility for our freighter operations and will increase capacity and enable us to meet our long-term objectives.
“While the site is being developed, it remains business as usual for us. We are working very closely with Dubai Airports to ensure a smooth transition of our freighter operations.”
The terminal will have an initial capacity of 700,000 tonnes of cargo per year, with room to expand in the future.
The perishables handling area also will be larger, with a dedicated pharmaceutical storage area, allowing Emirates to expand its cool chain products and services.
Last year, Emirates SkyCargo saw tonnage increase 16 percent to 2.1m tonnes. The division accounted for 15 percent of Emirates Group’s transport revenues.
Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths revealed to Arabian Business this year that Emirates’ passenger services were not likely to transfer to the new airport for at least another 10 years.
“We would be talking of having to create an airport capable of supporting between 80-100 million passengers [before Emirates could move], so that’s going to be quite a challenge to move that amount of traffic in one go,” he said.
“We can’t anticipate a move of Emirates until around the mid-part of the next decade — 2025, maybe 2027. But if we can accelerate the development of DWC then who knows, it could be slightly earlier.”
Al Maktoum International Airport will become the largest in the world with a capacity of 160m passengers when it is completed in about 2027.
Two airlines have so far confirmed they will start passenger operations at the facility, near Jebel Ali in the emirate’s south, from October 27.
Cargo operations started in 2010.