Airport developments and expansion projects underway in the UAE involve Dh120 billion investment as the country gears up to receive increased number of passengers over the few years.
Airports in the UAE handled a combined 101 million passengers, including over 71 million by Dubai International Airport, in 2014, said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) and Chairman of Dubai Airports.
One of the key drivers of passenger traffic growth at the UAE airports is the fast growing tourism industry with Dubai emerging as a sought-after global holiday and business destination. By 2020, when Dubai is hosting the World Expo, inbound tourist traffic is expected to cross 20 million per year from the current 14 million.
Sheikh Ahmed, who is also the Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates airline and Group and Chairman of Dubai World Central Corporation, said the investments were being made to meet the rising demand of passengers and cargo movements as the UAE emerges as the most-ideal global travel hub.
In a message in the just-released June edition of Via Dubai, the official bilingual newsletter of DCAA, Sheikh Ahmed said the aviation industry in Dubai is on a firm pedestal due to the unbridled airport developments and fleet expansion by Emirates and flydubai.
"Our stakeholders have invested billions of dirhams in the industry in line with the vision of making aviation a major contributor to our Dubai's unrivalled economic success story. The dramatic transformation of our aviation industry is a classic example of how well the industry is managed. In Dubai, we never sit idle, basking in our past achievements. Dubai is working its way to be the global travel hub for the 21st century,” he said.
By 2022, the world's biggest airport will become a reality in the shape of Dubai World Central (DWC), of which Al Maktoum International Airport is a key component. When fully complete, the DWC will handle 220 million passengers. A planned expansion of Al Maktoum International's passenger terminal will boost the airport's capacity to reach a total of 26 million passengers per year by 2017.
The opening of Concourse D at the Dubai International Airport this year is part of the US$7.8 billion expansion programme which is expected to boost the airport's capacity to over 100 million passengers annually by 2020 when Dubai hosts the World Expo, the world's third biggest global event after Olympics and FIFA World Cup, Sheikh Ahmed said.
Aviation's contribution to Dubai's economy will increase to US$88 billion by 2030. To attract foreign investments for the DWC, a corporation has been recently set up.
Mohammed Abdulla Ahli, Director General of DCAA, said for the civil aviation to grow on sound lines, it is vital to have laws that are compatible with the changing times. "Dubai is known globally for business-friendly and growth-oriented policies. To enhance airspace safety and maintain the hard-earned accomplishments, our aviation laws have been recently revised, taking into account several challenges and potential risks. The new law will go a long way in keeping our airspace ‘free and clear' of potential safety hazards.”