• 09 Oct
    Tenders issued for Al Maktoum International expansion


    Major tender which will enable Al Maktoum International to handle 26m passengers will be issued next month

    Dubai: Tenders for the expansion of Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC) have started to be issued with the final major tender to be awarded next month.

    The capacity of DWC, Dubai’s future mega hub airport in the emirate’s south, is being expanded to 26 million passengers a year, up from between 5 and 7 million today.

    The first major tender to help flydubai move operations over to the airport has already been awarded with a “minor” tender for new counters at the airport to be awarded shortly, Suzanne Al Anani, chief executive of Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP), told reporters in Dubai on Wednesday.

    The second major tender for the expansion of the baggage handling system to accommodate 26 million passengers a year will be awarded “hopefully this week” and the third major tender for the expansion of the terminal building is to be awarded next month, Al Anani said.

    The expansion of DWC, announced in May 2015 by operator Dubai Airports, is scheduled to be completed by 2018.

    On Wednesday, Al Anani said, there will be a “major relocation” of operations of flydubai and other Dubai International Terminal 2 operators to DWC in 2017. Al Anani did not say how much of flydubai operations will move over and Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths later said no airlines will be forced to move to DWC.

    Asked about relocating, flydubai told Gulf News, “We have committed to 70 flights a week to 7 destinations from DWC. We will continue to operate from both of Dubai’s airports. Increased capacity will be dependent on airport facilities and passenger demand.”

    It is the same statement flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith gave to Gulf News on Monday when Griffiths said the airline will gradually move over to DWC.

    Mega hub expansion

    The transformation of DWC into a mega hub will not be impacted by falling oil prices, Khalifa Al Zaffin Executive Chairman, Dubai Aviation City Corporation, said. In September 2014, Dubai Airports announced a $32 billion (Dh117.54 billion) expansion of DWC with Dubai government approving the master plan for a 120 million annual passenger capacity terminal.

    The final design of the terminal remains to be finalised, but Al Zaffin said there would be “no scale down” of the master plan.

    “We have our own ways, don’t worry about it,” he said when asked about the Dubai government’s ability to finance the project.

    Al Maktoum International is expected to be one of the busiest airports in the world.

    Emirates has said it will shift over from its current hub Dubai International around 2025 when DWC has a capacity of 120 million passengers a year. That capacity is expected to eventual increase to 220 million.

    Al Zaffin also confirmed a second runway will be built at DWC before 2020. There are plans for five runways at the airport.

    Airport taxes

    Dubai International will not be introducing a new airport tax to make up for falling oil revenues, which Bahrain is reportedly considering.

    “I don’t think that our financial motivations are at all related to the oil price. Our traffic continues to recall record levels,” Griffiths said. “There is no relativity in my mind between the price of oil and the charges we put at the airport,” he added.

    Bahrain is reportedly considering a new airport tax charge of $26 per aircraft lending that could generate over $2 million a year for the country if approved by the government.

    Russian return

    Griffiths also said there has been a rebound in the Russian, Ukrainian and CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) markets.

    “The strength of that market is coming back,” he said.

    Passengers from Russia, Ukraine and the CIS have fallen over the past 18 months due to civil war in Ukraine, the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine and the impact of low oil prices and a weak Russian rouble on the Russian and CIS economies.