Dubai South set to boom as Al Maktoum International Airport plan transforms city

Schools expect to experience surge in pupils as community grows

The creation of a new passenger terminal at Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai could transform the lives of many in neighbouring areas. Photo: Dubai Government via AP
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Plans for a new Dh128 billion ($34.8 billion) terminal will result in much more than just a new-look airport in Dubai, according to experts.

The entire make-up of the city could be transformed when the plans for the airport come to fruition, they said.

When Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, announced the project on Sunday he said "an entire city" would be built around the airport.

Property and education experts told The National the Dh128 billion project had the potential to transform the lives of many in the emirate.

From this week onwards there will be a lot of market activity in these areas
Paul Kelly, Allsopp and Allsopp real estate

Property experts agreed the news of the new airport had put the Dubai South area firmly back in the spotlight.

"I expect to see infrastructure improvements and increased commercial developments including new hotels and dining options which could attract millions to relocate to the surrounding areas," said Paul Kelly, operations director at the estate agency Allsopp and Allsopp.

"Additionally, with the Expo site being relatively close by, the ongoing redevelopments and communities that are being built around the area, we can expect to see growing attraction and demand in the community.

"I think most people in the market for home ownership or investment will be taking a renewed look at Dubai South this week."

He added that property prices in the area would inevitably rise as the airport project gets closer to completion.

"We expect to see property prices rising in Dubai South and the surrounding areas in the years to come," said Mr Kelly.

"Over that time, there may be some ups and downs, as we would expect in any market, but the trajectory over 10 years will be upwards with all the developments, infrastructure, and entertainment venues.

"It’s only going one way and that is why, from this week onwards really, I expect there will be a lot of market activity in these areas."

Once complete, Al Maktoum International Airport will have "the world's largest capacity", reaching up to 260 million passengers.

It is projected to be five times the size of the current Dubai International Airport, which is currently ranked top globally for international passenger traffic.

"The government has already said that they are expecting one million [people] to live and work in the area close to the new airport, so that must mean more properties [will be built] to address the demand," said Steven Leckie, associate director for off-plan and investment with the property firm Haus & Haus.

The news of the investment in the airport means similar development in the area around the airport is inevitable, he added.

Mr Leckie predicted there would be significant investment in new properties in the Dubai South area, but that did not necessarily mean those already living in the area could expect an immediate surge in rental prices.

"I am sure we will see some new communities; we already know that Damac Lagoons 2 will be launched there shortly," he said.

"I expect people will not be asked to pay more to live there (Dubai South) in the short term as the new airport is a massive project and will take years to complete."

It was only at the start of this month that Dubai South Properties launched the fourth phase of its South Bay waterfront development after selling out the first three phases, which includes more than 600 villas.

Major growth predicted

Education bodies in Dubai are also keeping a close eye on developments in the Dubai South area, as they expect it will experience major growth in the coming years.

"As Dubai South emerges as a vibrant urban hub adjacent to the airport, Taaleem is collaborating with strategic partners and government entities to develop additional educational facilities post-2027," said Sam Truman, chief operating officer of schools group Taaleem.

"This proactive planning aims to accommodate the growing residential demands of this swiftly developing area."

It will not just be people in Dubai South who reap the benefits of the community's expansion but also those nearby, according to the principal of a school in neighbouring Dubai Investments Park (DIP).

"The announcement about the new airport will only increase the number of families coming to Dubai," said Leigh Girven, principal at Greenfield International School, who is expecting to see a boom in the number of pupils in years to come.

"We are looking forward to welcoming those new families and we are making sure that our school can meet the needs of those students when they arrive."

The airport’s development will attract new opportunities for businesses to thrive in the area, she said, which in turn would create opportunities for work experience and other projects for pupils.

Updated: April 30, 2024, 7:45 AM