The Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP), an autonomous entity responsible for the planning and development of Dubai’s airports, has embarked on a new expansion project at Al Maktoum International Airport.

Approved in 2014, the AED120bn ($32.67bn) expansion project is expected to make the airport the world’s biggest, in terms of size and passenger capacity, by 2050.

It will also ease pressure on the nation’s first airport, Dubai International Airport, which is expected to witness 100 million passengers by the end of 2020, and has limited scope for further growth.

The expansion will be executed in two phases over the next six to eight years. After the project’s completion, the airport will be able to handle more than 220 million passengers a year.

Construction on the first phase of airport expansion began in early-2017 and is expected to be completed by mid-2018.

Development phases of the Al Maktoum airport expansion

The initial phase of the expansion is further divided into two sub-phases, the first of which will construct new terminal facilities, concourses and satellite terminals, as well as expand existing facilities

The second sub-phase will expand and construct runways, site grading, roads and tunnels.

Details of passenger terminal expansion at Al Maktoum airport

A passenger terminal expansion project was launched in March 2016. Scheduled to be completed by mid-2018, it will enhance the terminal’s passenger handling capacity from five million to more than 26 million a year.

The 711,569ft² passenger terminal at Al Maktoum Airport opened in October 2013. It was initially designed to host five million passengers a year, with a possible expansion to seven million.

The proposed expansion project will increase the terminal’s built-up area to approximately 1.57 million square feet, and add new facilities to the arrival and departure areas.

Expansions in the departure area will include commercial zones and offices, as well as a new check-in hall with 64 counters and an additional ten counters for business class passengers. A new immigration hall with 55 border control counters will be constructed for visa and passenger utilities.

The project will also build 12 new boarding lounges, and expand immigration transfer and security areas.

The arrivals hall will see the addition of a new baggage screening area and three new carousels for the existing baggage reclaim area.

Details of Phase 1 expansion at Al Maktoum airport

The phase one expansion includes the construction of two parallel, 4.5km-long Code F runways with enough distance between them to enable simultaneous operations. The runways will also feature an instrument landing system (Cat IIIB), allowing them to operate under low visibility conditions.

Offering a capacity of 35 million passengers a year, a new 165,000m² terminal will be constructed towards the west end of the airport.

Two 385,000m² satellite concourses with an annual capacity of 65 million passengers will also be constructed. The concourses will feature 200 wide-body aircraft contact stands, with 100 each for Code E and Code F aircraft.

Six new train tracks will be built to connect the terminals with the concourses, with two each for departures, arrivals and transfers. Three stations will be constructed at each concourse, with another built at the west terminal.

Al Maktoum Phase two expansion details

The second phase will see the construction of two more runways with similar dimensions and capabilities, increasing the total number of runways at the airport to five.

A new terminal will be constructed towards the east side of the airport. Two new concourses, each with a passenger handling capacity of 65 million a year, will also be constructed.

A further six train tracks and seven stations will connect the terminals and the concourses.

“After the project’s completion, the airport will be able to handle more than 220 million passengers a year.”

Technologies used

Biometrics and smart passenger tracking will be used during the expansion to facilitate seamless passenger movement through the terminals.

Contractors involved

The construction contract for the passenger terminal expansion has been awarded to Al Jaber LEGT Engineering & Contracting (ALEC), a company based in the UAE.

The expansion was designed by Leslie Jones Architecture.

ALEC subcontracted AE Arma-Elektropanç to perform all mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) works for the passenger terminal building expansion.

Financing for the expansion project

Uxport credit agency UK Export Finance (UKEF) issued $2bn export guarantees for the expansion in late-2014.