Dubai International Airport

Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East has began to turn itself into a tourist and commercial hub in order to prepare for the days when its reliance on oil income will begin to wane.

The Emirate has been undertaking a massive infrastructure program for some years, and much emphasis has been put into building its international airline, called Emirates, and in the construction of one of the most modern and largest airports in the world, Dubai International Airport.

The Airport is massive, being spread over a large area of 8,640 acres (3,500 hectares) of land. As big as it is, Dubai International Airport is ten times smaller than the Al Makhtoum International Airport, which is currently under construction and which will replace it.

Al Maktoum International Airport will form the main part of Dubai World Central, a planned residential, commercial and logistics complex scheme. It will be the world’s largest passenger and cargo hub in terms of capacity, although not largest in area. Currently, the world’s largest airport, in terms of area, is King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, Saudi Arabia which covers an area of 790 square kilometres.

Already, the current airport is the fourth busiest in the world in terms of handling international passengers. The annual passenger traffic in 2011 reached 50.98 million and traffic in the first eight months of 2012 reached 37,784,946, up 13.4 per cent over the previous year.

When completed, the new airport will be able to handle between 120-150 million passengers per year, plus over 12 million tonnes of cargo, which is a phenomenally impressive capacity.

The sheer size of the complex will be very impressive. For aircraft movements, the airport is planned to have six 4,500m parallel runways, with a large passenger complex in the middle. Three runways would straddle at one side of the complex while three more would be located at the other side. Additionally, each runway would have extended asphalted pathways on either side which would allow aircraft to by-pass other runways and taxiways without disturbing aircraft movements of these runways and taxiways.

When completed, a new community, called an aerotropolis, would be formed. This will be Dubai Wold Central for which businesses and communities that are dependent on the airport will be constructed, together with the transport, communications, technologies, commercial and residential entities and the services to support them will be included as part of the project all connected by good highways and high speed rail to Dubai City and the current Dubai International Airport.

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