Dubai speeds up airport expansion


Dubai has moved forward the next phase of its airport expansion worth Dh5 billion ($1.36 billion) to the end of this year or the beginning of 2002, according to airport officials.

The new dates reflect directives by Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister, to increase the Emirates fleet to 210 in 10 years and Dubai's rapid economic and travel movement growth.

Department of Civil Aviation operations director Mohammed Al Ahli said project tenders had been issued, bringing submission date forward by six months.

He said changes were needed to taxiways, parking bays and land equipment to accommodate the huge A380 superjumbos.

Emirates bought seven A380s and this required a change in airways and runways to handle them, he said.

The airport handles 400 flights daily and these are expected to increase by 13 per cent in 2002. About 12.3 million passengers used the airport last year and traffic is expected to reach 14 million this year.