Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 15 November 2019

New focus for old Dubai airport

Dubai International Airport will be expanded to provide additional capacity at Terminal 2 for flydubai and other budget airlines.
Dubai airport's Terminal 2 was significantly refurbished ahead of the June 2009 launch of flydubai.
Dubai airport's Terminal 2 was significantly refurbished ahead of the June 2009 launch of flydubai.

Dubai authorities are pushing through an expansion of Dubai International Airport's Terminal 2 to cater for the growth of the budget carrier flydubai and the emirate's booming travel and tourism sector.

The investment plan includes constructing a new check-in hall and departure area, and possibly extending the terminal building.

The plan is part of a renewed focus on the emirate's long-standing main airport in Deira as the development of Al Maktoum International Airport in Jebel Ali has been delayed.

"The project consists of constructing a new building located adjacent to the existing Terminal 2 at Dubai International Airport," the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation said yesterday in an advertisement in a local newspaper inviting construction companies to pre-qualify for tenders.

The main hall will be 205 metres long and 90 metres wide, and house a check-in area, an immigration section and management offices, and a departure facility.

The agency said it was also considering a 70-metre-long extension to the existing terminal building.

Terminal 2 was significantly refurbished before the June 2009 launch of flydubai, the emirate's first locally based budget carrier.

Just two years on, the airline has grown immensely. This year, it expects to expand its seating capacity and passenger traffic by 140 per cent, said its chief executive, Ghaith al Ghaith.

As a result of flydubai's growth, and that of Emirates Airline and others among the more than 130 carriers that serve Dubai, the emirate was on track to overtake London, Paris and Hong Kong in 2015 to become the world's largest hub for international travel, Dubai Airports said this week.

Lorne Riley, the head of corporate communications at Dubai Airports, declined to comment on the advertisement concerning the Terminal 2 project, but said: "We are expecting a 7.2 per cent traffic growth and 6.7 per cent cargo growth annually over the next 10 years.

"In response to the anticipated growth, we have been developing a master plan to provide the required capacity and will announce details once everything is finalised."

The forecast increase is greater than the 5.3 per cent annualised growth that the aircraft maker Boeing has forecast for air travel in the Middle East over the next two decades.

Emirates accounts for most of the traffic at Dubai International. Tim Clark, the carrier's chief executive, said this week that his airline had weathered a "tough" 2010 financial year, which for Emirates ended on March 31.

But after earning nearly US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) in its half-year performance, analysts had predicted Emirates would still be one of the highest performing airlines in the world last year, with net profit of up to $2bn. The airline announces its results next week.

Mr Clark said winter storms, natural disasters in New Zealand and Japan, the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland and unrest in the Middle East had challenged the carrier's operations. But Emirates "navigated our way through this", he said.

He added soaring fuel prices were also hurting the airline, with jet fuel now accounting for 43 per cent of the airline's total costs compared with 12 per cent nearly a decade ago.

 

igale@thenational.ae

Updated: May 5, 2011 04:00 AM

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