x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Dubai International Airport aims to make room for Emirates Airline super-jumbos

Dubai International Airport is working to increase capacity to help accommodate more of the Airbus SAS A380 super-jumbo for Emirates Airline, the largest operator of the double-decker jet, the airline's chairman has said.

An Emirates Airline Airbus A380-800 aircraft is seen on the tarmac outside terminal 3 at concourse A, the new A380 terminal at Dubai International Airport. Gabriela Maj/Bloomberg
An Emirates Airline Airbus A380-800 aircraft is seen on the tarmac outside terminal 3 at concourse A, the new A380 terminal at Dubai International Airport. Gabriela Maj/Bloomberg

Dubai International Airport is working to increase capacity to help accommodate more of the Airbus SAS A380 super-jumbo for Emirates Airline, the largest operator of the double-decker jet, the airline's chairman has said.

The expansion may help the hub become the word's busiest airport by next year, the Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said yesterday.

"We are going according to plan to accommodate all A380s," he said in Dubai. "Hopefully within one year from now we would be number one."

Dubai International boosted traffic to about 57.7 million passengers in 2012, putting it on a path to match London Heathrow by the end of 2013. The airport opened a concourse this year dedicated specifically to the A380 double decker, of which Emirates has ordered 90 units in total.

To fund delivery of aircraft in the financial year starting April 2014, Emirates has said it would need US$4.5 billion, and may consider issuing bonds or sukuk as one option to raise some of that money, depending on the market conditions.

"Whenever the market is good, when we need to go to the market we will go," Sheikh Ahmed said. "It's not desperate times, but if it's the right time, why not?"

Emirates, which introduced an executive jet service last month with an Airbus A319, will decide after a year if it needs more aircraft for this segment of the business, he said, calling it an "experiment programme" for the carrier.

Sheikh Ahmed said that the Boeing 777X is an "excellent aircraft, though given that it may only come as late as 2020, Emirates ''always leave the door open for both options: Airbus and Boeing''.