DUBAI International Airport (DXB) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is one of the world’s busiest international airports. This airport is going to be even busier with development plans for the next 5 to 7 years.

According to Dubai Airport CEO Paul Griffiths said last week that DXB would be able to handle up to 120 million annual passengers within 15 years. But when DXB reaches peak capacity, Dubai’s second airport, Al Maktoum International Airport or Dubai World Central (DWC), will be the largest airport in the world, according to its developer, Dubai South.

“DWC currently accommodates around 1.6 million passengers per year. But this figure could increase to over 250 million by 2050. We must accelerate our efforts to increase existing airport capacity in the short term, which will cover us over the next 10 to 15 years,” Griffiths told Bloomberg Television last week, as quoted by Euronews.

Dubai Airports currently handled 41.6 million passengers in the first half of 2023, surpassing 2019 levels in the same period. Experts estimate that the annual figure will reach 85 million, driven by the return of air traffic from China.

The DXB overhaul was carried out by adding additional waiting rooms, check-in desks and seats, as well as introducing a new security scanner that does not require passengers to remove liquid items. They will also concentrate restaurants and food halls in one section of each terminal.

Dubai World Central Airport was inaugurated in 2010 for cargo and in 2013 began serving passengers. The airport only handles a small portion of arrivals in the city. But developers are currently drawing up plans to make it the largest airport in the world.

Local reports indicate that the first phase of the project will increase the airport’s capacity to around 130 million passengers annually. The area covers 56 square kilometers.

Dubai South, a major urban development project, has teased the project on its social media. #DubaiSouth will be home to the world’s largest airport once completed, and a multimodal transport infrastructure connecting air, land and sea.

However, this development, which is estimated to cost US$33 billion or around IDR501.9 trillion, will certainly have an environmental impact. In 2019, Dubai International Airport’s 83 million passengers emitted 16.65 million metric tons of CO2, the highest total of any airport in the world. [sources/photo special]