Investments into the expansion of Dubai airports, earmarked at a total of $17.2 billion (Dh63.16bn), will continue as passenger volumes maintain growth at the world's sixth largest airport for international passenger traffic despite the global economic downturn, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group, confirmed on the second day of the week-long Paris Air Show at Le Bourget.
Dubai Airports has invested $7.2bn in expanding Dubai International with another $10bn allocated for the construction of Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International Airport.
"These are challenging times for aviation. Passenger and cargo traffic has dropped dramatically in most parts of the world, leading to billions in industry losses," said Sheikh Ahmed, adding that Dubai has been a "beacon of hope" during these turbulent times.
With Dubai International forecasting a four to five per cent increase in passenger traffic for the first half of this year, the first quarter saw Dubai Airports recording a 2.1 per cent passenger traffic growth, followed by a 6.5 per cent increase in April and 7.1 per cent in May, Sheikh Ahmed said. "This is a welcome sign that the worst of this crisis may be behind us. It also sends a clear signal that our long-term strategy is on track," he said. "Our progress will be on full display during the Dubai Airshow in November."
Upon completion, Dubai's new airport, the Al Maktoum International due to open its first phase in June 2010 and said to be the largest airport in the world will have a capacity for 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of mixed cargo per annum.
Dubai International's expansion, meanwhile, includes Terminal 3 and the second concourse that opened in October last year, increasing the airport's overall capacity to 60 million passengers per year. This is besides the construction of Concourse 3, due for completion at the end of 2011, which will boost the total airport capacity to 75 million passengers per annum.
Currently, more than 100,000 travellers pass through Dubai International every day on more than 800 daily flights with a total of 39 million passengers projected for 2009. Some 130 airlines fly out of Dubai International to more than 200 worldwide destinations and that number is expected to increase, Dubai Airports said in a statement.