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DUBAI - JULY 1,2010 - Emirates airplane taxi on the run way of the Dubai World Central - Al Maktoum International airport. ( Paulo Vecina/The National )
DUBAI - JULY 1,2010 - Emirates airplane taxi on the run way of the Dubai World Central - Al Maktoum International airport. ( Paulo Vecina/The National )

Cash boost for Dubai World Central aviation plan

Dubai's hopes of becoming a global aviation centre have been bolstered by the securing of Dh1 billion in investment for a portion of Dubai World Central.

A Dh1 billion (US$272.3 million) investment has been secured for Dubai World Central, the "aerotropolis" taking shape on the edge of Dubai.

The cash will pay for the first phase of development of the aviation district, designed to attract international businesses in aeronautical services and light manufacturing.

It will also pay for the relocation of the Dubai Airshow 2013 to the district from the existing site at Dubai International Airport. The move to a bigger site is likely to add thrust to the show's growing international profile.

"Dubai World Central is an integral component of the strategic vision of Dubai Government to establish the emirate as an international aviation hub and a gateway to global markets," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation, the company in charge of developing the $33 billion Dubai World Central.

"The aviation district has been holistically conceived to capitalise on the dynamic aviation industry of the UAE and the region," he said.

The aviation district, covering more than 6.8 square kilometres, will provide"land-side and air-side facilities" and will help to leverage the capacity of the new Al Maktoum International Airport, the company said. Officials hope the district will be able to capitalise on the strong growth in aviation in the region, the Indian subcontinent and China.

Close links to the nearby Jebel Ali Free Zone would help to cut "inter-modal" transport times.

The announcement comes as Dubai hopes gradually to shift aviation operations across the city from the existing site, Dubai International Airport in Deira.

Air traffic congestion and limited space on the ground for the aviation support industry restricts growth at the Deira site.

Al Maktoum airport entered service last year with the inauguration of cargo flights.

This will be followed by business aviation, and commercial passenger flights are scheduled to begin next year.

A passenger terminal will be opened at Dubai World Central by 2020 to handle 80 million passengers a year. "As evidenced by the recent investments being made in the aviation sector within the region, including Emirates Airline's purchase of 50 new aircraft during the Dubai Airshow, Dubai World Central is strategically positioned to service and cater to the needs of the region's rapidly expanding aviation sector," said Khalifa Al Zaffin, the executive chairman of Dubai Aviation City.

A heliport, an executive-jet terminal, covered aircraft parking stands, and areas for aircraft maintenance and repairs, and for operational and aeronautical support services will be provided in the aviation district. The venue of Dubai Airshow 2013 will encompass a larger area than the current facility, offering greater exhibition space and room for additional aircraft.

Dubai International has been the venue of the biennial event since 1989.

It has gradually established itself alongside the air shows of Paris and Farnborough in the UK as a venue for striking commercial, business and defence aviation deals.

The Dubai World Central development is intended to establish Dubai as one of the world's most important centres of trade, logistics and commerce.

In addition to five runways, terminals and warehouses, Dubai World Central's plans include residential and office space, manufacturing zones and golf courses.

tarnold@thenational.ae

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