Dubai’s ruler Mohammed Al Maktoum has approved plans for a $34.8bn replacement for Dubai International Airport at Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC), otherwise known as Dubai World Central airport.

The site, which opened in 2010 for freight traffic, will be extended with a new passenger terminal to accommodate 260 million passengers annually.

The airport is planned to be the hub for “Dubai South”, a new city built from the ground up in the Emirate. 

When completed DWC will be five times the size of the current hub, Dubai International (DXB). 

“All operations at Dubai International Airport will be transferred to it in the coming years. The airport will accommodate 400 aircraft gates and feature five parallel runways,” according to Dubai’s premier, who also serves as the United Arab Emirate’s Prime Minister. 

Aviation features heavily in Dubai’s growth plans, and the expanded airport (it will have a footprint of at least 70km-square when complete) will be built with an eye on future technologies and environmental goals. 

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Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, president of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and CEO of the Emirates Group stated: “With the continuous support and blessings of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and in keeping with his vision for the Aviation industry in Dubai, we announce the commencement of the design and construction process for the new airport at Jebel Ali. It is expected that the first phase of the project will be ready within a period of 10 years, with a capacity to accommodate 150 million passengers annually.”

“Al Maktoum International is planned in such a way as to represent a leap into the future. It will comprise of five parallel runways with a quadruple independent operation, west and east processing terminals, four satellite concourses with over 400 aircraft contact stands, uninterrupted automated people mover system for passengers, and an integrated landside transport hub for roads, Metro, and city air transport,” bin Saeed added.