Al Maktoum Airport Mini Guide
Why did Dubai Need Another Airport?
In theory it didn’t but Dubai International Airport was seeing rapidly increasing passenger numbers and it wouldn’t have been too long, estimates say 2015, before it would have reached capacity. What kick-started the new airport project was the proposed development of Dubai World City, a huge aerotropolis, costing $82bn, which will include manufacturing and distribution industries, residential complexes, shopping facilities, banking and finance and a huge leisure industry all under one umbrella. With multinational companies already committing themselves to do business in what will be a free enterprise zone, the potential market for a huge new airport was already there.
Why Should I use Al Maktoum Airport instead of Dubai International?
By the end of 2013, Al Maktoum Airport will have opened for commercial passenger flights and be linked with Dubai International Airport which is only 25 miles away. Ultimately the link will be by high speed train link meaning journey times between the airports of around ten to fifteen minutes. When Al Maktoum opens, flights to both airports will be reviewed and it’s likely that main scheduled international flights will use one of Al Maktoum’s three terminals, budget carriers will use a budget terminal and Emirates will have a dedicated luxury terminal of its own. Dubai International is likely to take regional flights only at that point meaning that most international travellers will use Al Maktoum.
Which Routes Will be Served by Al Maktoum Airport?
A key factor in its development was the recognition of Dubai as the perfect hub for air travel between Europe and Australia and New Zealand. With the rise of the Asian Tiger economies, a further need for it as a hub between Korea, Japan and Taiwan and Europe was also identified. Now with China emerging as the world’s trading superpower, yet more demand is coming on stream for a Middle Eastern hub. The new airport will be ideally placed and be the airport of choice for business travellers between those economies.
What Facilities Does the new Airport Have?
It’s got five runways sufficiently far apart to allow for simultaneous take-off and landing of planes up to Airbus A380 size. There are three passenger terminals with two of them designated as luxury terminals, one serving exclusively Emirates flights, the second serving international scheduled flights and the third serving budget airlines in a terminal with reduced, but still excellent facilities. Each terminal has multiple concourses to cope with the huge passenger numbers and the two main terminals have jetways to take A380 aircraft.
In the two main terminals there are extensive shopping and eating facilities built into malls with food courts. The pre-security shopping is all duty free as part of the free zone and can be accessed by people who aren’t flying, forming the main shopping centre for the residential aspect of DWC. There are several hotels which form part of the airport complex and which are ideal for stopovers or for business travellers. The two main terminals have executive and business lounges whilst the Emirates facility has a Royal Lounge for the use of the Saudi royal family and visiting dignitaries.
Parking isn’t an issue with 100,000 underground parking spaces split between the three terminals and transport into Dubai can be by taxi, hire car or the Dubai Metro which has a station at the airport.
- Wizz Air landed the first commercial passenger carrying flight at Dubai Al Maktoum Airport at the end of October 2013. Full story