Dubai International Airport is on track to open a new concourse early next year, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of DCAA and chairman of Dubai Airports has confirmed.
Concourse D, which will be connected to an existing terminal by an automated train, is due to open in the first quarter of next year, Via Dubai, the official newsletter of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) quoted him as saying.
A trial run is also planned to be conducted soon.
The fourth concourse is part of a wider $7.8 billion expansion programme designed to boost the Dubai airport’s capacity to over 100 million passengers annually by 2020.
As part of the programme, Dubai Airports opened Concourse A – the world’s first dedicated facility for A380 aircraft – early last year.
Dubai International handled 66,431,533 passengers in 2013, and is confident about hitting the 70 million mark this year despite an 80-day runway refurbishment programme which ended last month.
“Flight operations at the Dubai International Airport have been restored fully on July 21 following the completion of the runway refurbishment as scheduled,” said Sheikh Ahmed.
The completion of the programme will lead to a “significant surge in air traffic”, he said.
The project, which began on May 1, involved the resurfacing of the entire 4,000-metre long northern runway as well as the upgrading of runway lighting and construction of additional taxiways and rapid exits on the southern runway.
The airport had announced flight reduction of 26 per cent during the upgrade with Emirates taking the brunt. The airline had to slash flights to 41 destinations, incurring a loss of Dhs1 billion in revenues.
However, with airlines using bigger aircraft and load factors higher than usual, the actual reduction in seat and passenger numbers was calculated to be less than 26 per cent, the Via Dubai report said.
“We are confident about the airport handling over 70 million passengers in 2014 which will bring us further closer to becoming the world’s number one airport for international passengers,” Sheikh Ahmed said.
He also confirmed that the development of Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai World Central was progressing in phases, as planned, to accommodate up to 160 million passengers when completed.
“We are on the mark in terms of giving a big boost to the aviation industry which we anticipate will contribute 32 per cent to Dubai’s GDP by 2020,” he said.