DUBAI // An airport that will be the world's largest when fully operational will open its doors to its first passengers in October.
Dubai World Central (DWC), in Jebel Ali, will open on October 27 as a hub for its two budget launch airlines, Hungarian carrier Wizz Air and Saudi Arabia's nasair.
When finished, DWC will have five runways and a capacity of 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo a year.
A cargo centre has been open since 2010 and the passenger terminal, completed last year, will initially be able to handle 7 million passengers a year, the state news agency Wam says.
Other airlines and services will be revealed in coming months, said Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports.
"A new era in Dubai's already-proud aviation story is set to begin," Mr Griffiths said.
"The introduction of passenger services from DWC is the first step in the long-term development of the airport and will provide an attractive alternative to travellers.
"We are equally thrilled to welcome our launch airlines, Wizz Air and nasair."
Flights to Europe on Hungarian airline Wizz Air will cost as little as Dh349, it was reported yesterday.
The airline will operate to four destinations in Central and Eastern Europe from Dubai: Sofia, Bulgaria; Budapest, Hungary; Bucharest, Romania; and Kiev, Ukraine.
The other budget carrier, nasair, is set to operate 50 flights a week between Dubai and a number of destinations in Saudi Arabia, Wam reported.
The Saudi carrier already operates 950 weekly flights to 28 destinations with a fleet of 21 aircraft comprising Airbus A320s and Embraer E190s.
Passengers should also keep an eye out for other routes being added, said Jozsef Varadi, chief executive of Wizz Air.
"Wizz Air's fleet of 40 new Airbus A320s now operates across 32 countries and has over 1,500 weekly flights to 93 airports," Mr Varadi said.
"I am confident that our investment to grow traffic between Dubai and Europe will result in many more low-fare Wizz Air routes to be announced in Dubai.
"And I am honoured to announce Wizz Air as a launch customer and first international low-fares airline operating at Dubai World Central.
"For us, this is a hugely significant milestone, with our 10-year European success story now crossing borders far beyond Europe, sharing the benefit of efficient airline operations and low fares with many more international customers."
DWC will be looking to emulate the success of its predecessor, Dubai International Airport, which recently overtook Charles De Gaulle in Paris, to become the world's second-busiest airport for international passenger traffic behind London Heathrow.
The data was made available by the Airports Council International monthly traffic report from February.
For nasair, which launched in 2007, the move to operate from DWC was inevitable, said Capt Francois Bouteiller, its chief executive.
"Dubai's strategic location, with its continuous growth in travel demand, has encouraged nasair to expand its operation to Dubai World Central, the city's future hub," Capt Bouteiller said.
"Nasair's business travellers will, from October, have the opportunity to enjoy same-day travel between Dubai World Central and all major Saudi cities due to our convenient and seamless flight timings.
"At the same time, we will maintain our long-standing flights from Dubai International."