Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport expansion delayed until 2018

A passenger walks into Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai. Ali Haider / EPA

An expansion of Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport has been delayed by a year until 2018, the airport’s operator said yesterday.

Currently Dubai’s second-largest airport, it is expected to become the world’s largest when its expansion is completed, with the capacity to handle 26 million passengers a year.

Al Maktoum airport opened in 2013 and can currently handle about 7 million passengers a year. Its expansion has been delayed as construction completion approaches to allow time for trials and testing, a spokesman for Dubai Airports said.

The Dubai Government said on Sunday it had secured US$3 billion in long-term financing for the expansion of its airports, which are forecast to serve 146.3 million passengers by 2025.

Al Maktoum International, located near Jebel Ali, is being gradually expanded to take over from Dubai International Airport, currently the world’s busiest and home to Emirates airline.

Dubai Airports’ chief executive, Paul Griffiths, said in January the budget carrier flydubai would move its operations from Dubai International to Al Maktoum International in the third quarter of this year.

Emirates is slated to move to Al Maktoum International in 2025.

A Dubai Airports spokesman said it aims to grow Al Maktoum further to handle 240 million passengers a year, but that there was no date yet for when that would be.

This year, passenger traffic across Dubai’s two international airports is expected to reach just over 90 million, the spokesman said.

* Reuters