Dubai Airports is moving ahead with a $7.8 billion expansion plan of Dubai International airport as it aims to boost passenger traffic to 90 million passengers a year by 2018.
The infrastructure plans, include Concourse 3, expected to be completed at the end of next year, the construction of another concourse, Concourse 4, and the expansion of Terminal 2, Dubai Airports said.
The current capacity of Dubai International is 60 million passengers. With the addition of Concourse 3, capacity will increase to 75 million passengers, making it “the largest ... A380 specific terminal infrastructure in the world”. Many of the gates will have double flight boarding, allowing business class and first class passengers direct access to the upper level of the aircraft.
"We're currently the fourth busiest international airport for international passenger traffic, but we're very hot on the heels of Hong Kong, so me may end up at number three by the end of this year," said Paul Griffiths, the chief executive of Dubai Airports.
"If our growth continues and the rest of the world growth continues at its current levels, we fully expect by the middle of this decade to be eying the number one spot in terms of international passenger traffic."
Revenues generated by the operations of the facilities, including retail spend and aviation fees, would help fund the development of the new Dubai World Central airport.
“We are going to be spending a lot of time, money, effort, maximising the use of Dubai International,” said Mr Griffiths. “We simply cannot build Dubai World Central fast enough to keep up with the growth of our airlines.”
Dubai Airports expects the aviation sector to generate 22 per cent of Dubai's employment and 32 per cent of its gross domestic product by 2020.
The growing economies of India and China would also help bring more passengers into Dubai, the company highlighted.
Dubai Airports is forecasting average annual growth of 7.2 per cent in passenger traffic for Dubai International and Dubai World Central over the next ten years. Cargo traffic is expected to grow at a rate of 6.7 per cent a year over the same period.
“We are currently out to tender to extend Terminal 2, “ said Mr Griffiths. “That will be operational by 2013.”
This would help flydubai, Dubai's low cost carrier, to expand its operations, he said.
The fourth concourse is planned to be located in front of the Cargo Village and will be connected to Terminal 1.
“The idea is that will give access to other airlines to give them a quality product, and will allow Emirates to expand to fill all of concourses, 1, 2, and 3.”