Dubai is set to replace its current record-holding airport, Dubai International (DXB), with an even larger one, responding to the rebound in passenger numbers surpassing pre-pandemic levels. CEO of Dubai Airports, Paul Griffiths, announced plans for the new Al Maktoum International Airport, to be constructed on the outskirts of the city and expected to replace Dubai International by the 2030s.
Speaking at the Dubai Airshow in the UAE, Griffiths explained that the need for a new airport arises when the country hits 120 million passengers annually, the maximum capacity for DXB. He stated, “That is going to have to happen at some stage during the 2030s. We’re going to be working on those designs over the next few months.”
Griffiths projected an estimated 86.9 million passengers at Dubai International this year, surpassing the 2019 figures and highlighting a recovery from the pandemic. Notably, he mentioned that the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza has not impacted passenger numbers at the airport.
Recalling the temporary closure of Dubai airport for commercial flights from March to July 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Griffiths emphasized the drastic drop in passenger numbers from 86 million in 2019 to 25.9 million in 2020.
Looking ahead, Griffiths outlined the new airport’s design, emphasizing a modular approach for flexibility and easy expansion over time, describing it as the “airport of the future.” He asserted that Al Maktoum International must surpass Dubai International, envisioning a project extending well into the 2050s, emphasizing the long-term perspective guiding their plans.