The new airport Dubai World Central, also called Al-Maktoum international airport, opened on Sunday for passenger traffic in the presence of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.
The first plane with passengers landing on Dubai World Central or DWC was Hungarian airline Wizz Air with flight number W62497, arriving from Budapest and touching down at around 12 a.m.
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, the chairman of Dubai's civil aviation body DCAA and Dubai Airports chief executive Paul Griffiths personally welcomed the first passengers arriving at the new airport whose main part is still under construction and shall be once completed the biggest globally, capable of hosting over 160 million passengers per year.
Opened since June 27, 2010 for cargo planes, DWC will start passenger operations with three private airlines, namely Wizz Air, Bahrain's Gulf Air and Jazeera Airways, the low-cost carrier of emirate of Kuwait. Jazeera will commence operations from Oct. 31 on, while Gulf Air is poised to kick off flights from Manama to Dubai by Dec. 8.
Besides normal passenger planes, DWC can also be serviced by one Airbus A380 "Superjumpo." As of now, it has 64 remote aircraft stands and the capacity for up to 7 million passengers per year.
The new Dubai airport Al-Maktoum is located in southwest of the emirate, while the old airport DXB is in the north-east near the old town of Dubai-Deira. While DXB eyes for the first time to cater 65 million passengers per year in 2013, Al-Maktoum is designed to host in the future over 160 million passengers per year which would transform the hub into the biggest aerotropolis in the world.
On the occasion of the opening, Dubai's ruler Sheihk Mohammed said aviation sector today was one of the pillars of the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) national economy, "contributing directly and indirectly, more than 44 billion dirham or 12 billion dollars in our economy and employs 85,000 people." Sheikh Mohammed is also vice president and prime minister of the UAE, a major oil supplier.
"Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central will play a vital role in the future development of Dubai as a centre for trade, commerce, transport and logistics and tourism. I am impressed by the efficiency and convenience of this new terminal," said Sheikh Ahmed who is also chairman of Dubai's state-owned carrier Emirates Airlines.
Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffits said "The location, convenience and compact nature of DWC are compelling attributes." DWC can be reached within a 20 minutes drive from New Dubai and is 45 minutes away from Abu Dhabi, the UAE capita. DWC is also adjacent to the world's largest man-made container port Jebel Ali in order to boost the airport's capacities as a cargo hub for the UAE and the Middle East.