x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Dubai to delay Al Maktoum airport opening

Dubai may delay the start of passenger operations at its new Al Maktoum International Airport by a few months and will instead expand capacity at the Dubai International Airport.

DUBAI // Dubai may delay the start of passenger operations at its new Al Maktoum International Airport by a few months, an official said on Tuesday.

The airport -- billed as the world's largest when it becomes fully operational with expected passenger capacity of up to 160 million people a year -- was slated to open in March, 2011.

"At the moment, we are reviewing the opening date and it looks as if it'll be later in the year," Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports, told reporters on the sidelines of an aviation conference.

"We are going to review the passenger terminal capacity and and state of construction in a couple of months and then we'll be looking at a date."

Maktoum airport is part of the Dubai World Central transport hub which the Gulf Arab emirate is developing to underpin efforts to become a key Mideast logistics centre.

The airport opened for cargo operations earlier this year.

Griffiths said a planned expansion at Dubai International Airport would increase capacity, allowing the smaller airport to handle up to 90 million passengers by 2018.

"So ... it takes the pressure off us having to complete Al Maktoum in the timeframe we were looking for," he said.