Dubai’s much-delayed Al Maktoum International Airport is on schedule to launch cargo flights in June, but the start of passenger flights could be delayed further, the CEO of Dubai Airports Co said in remarks published on Wednesday.
Paul Griffiths said cargo operations will begin at Al Maktoum International Airport on June 27, UAE daily Emirates Business reported.
"We are on track so far for the June 27 opening," Griffiths told the newspaper in an interview.
"The airport will open for freighter operations initially. Passenger operations will follow at some stage in future," he added.
The first cargo flights had initially been due to take off from the new $10 billion airport in mid-2008 and there had been concern the airport would miss its revised June 2010 completion date.
The launch of passenger operations were due to open more than a year late in mid 2010. Griffiths had previously said passenger operations would start in October this year.
"We are making things flexible," Griffiths told Emirates Business when asked if Al Maktoum International Airport is on target to start passenger flights in October.
"We are not committing at this point in time to a definite date for passenger operations. But it will be at some stage in the future after the freighters have started," he said.
Al Maktoum International Airport will eventually have five runways, reduced from an original six, with a capacity of 160 million passengers a year.
The final completion date for the airport, which as things stand will be the largest in the world when finished, has been extended by several years past 2020.
Griffiths said Dubai Airports is having "plenty of conversations" with airlines to move to Al Maktoum International Airport, but could not confirm any names or numbers.
"We have plenty of conversations going on at the moment and we are hopeful we will sign some agreements and get some people lined up pretty shortly," he was quoted as saying.
"Normally airlines don't plan that far in advance so we are trying to persuade them to give us commitments on their schedules."