Dubai World Central Faces Emirates Hub ‘Conundrum’


By Dominic Ellis

Beneath the feel-good factor that accompanied the launch of Dubai World Central (DWC) Al Maktoum International Airport to passenger operations this morning lies a pressing conundrum.

With Dubai International Airport’s growth continuing to exceed operations, with 66 million passengers expected to pass through this year, the capacity clock is ticking down faster than originally expected on the established airport – yet DWC is only capable of handling five to seven million passengers in its first phase.

Dubai Airports’ CEO Paul Griffiths said: “The second phase poses a conundrum in how quickly we can build the hub for Emirates in the shortest possible time.”

It’s the first time publically that Emirates’ relocation has been acknowledged in such condensed terms – hitherto the message has been to expect a gradual relocation from 2020 – and reflects not only the airline’s and Dubai International’s growth but also the wider pick-up in the Dubai economy, which is expected to further accelerate in the event of a positive Expo 2020 bid decision at the end of next month.