The expansion of Dubai’s second airport, Al Maktoum International, has been delayed according to reports by Reuters, while flydubai has announced that 39 of its flights from Dubai International will be moved to DWC instead.
The expansion of Al Maktoum International is intended to see it capable of handling 120 million passengers a year by 2025. Opened in 2013, the airport is meant to be one of the worlds’ biggest in the coming years.
However, five sources have told Reuters that the expansion has been delayed. Two of those sources added that the project was being redesigned and that the second stage of financing, which was to be backed by foreign credit agencies, has been delayed indefinitely.
Dubai secured a $3 billion loan last year to develop the airport, and that money has not yet been used according to one of the sources.
Dubai Airports has not commented directly on the delay, but told Reuters that its aim was to “continuously” update masterplans for Al Maktoum International and main airport Dubai International “to embrace the latest thinking in technology, processes and customer-friendly service design principles”.
The capacity expansion was intended to pave the way for DWC to replace Dubai International, currently the world’s busiest airport for international travellers, and to become the new base of airline Emirates.
Dubai expects to spend around $36 billion on the Al Maktoum International project and the Dubai World Central aviation complex where it is located.
The airport is being built in phases and is expected to eventually handle more than 200 million passengers year, more than twice the current capacity of primary airport Dubai International where Emirates is based.
No timeline for the Al Maktoum airport target has been announced.
Dubai Airports said in 2016 it was expanding Dubai International to handle 118 million passengers a year by 2023, 18 million more than its initial cap in case the development of Al Maktoum International was delayed.
Dubai’s budget airline flydubai, meanwhile, has announced that 39 of its flights will be taking off from DWC instead of DXB in 2019, due to runway repairs and other infrastructure works that have to be done at Dubai International.
For 45 days next year, from April 16 to May 30, Dubai International airport (DXB) will close the southern runway for upgrade works, and during this period, there will be a significant reduction in aircraft movements.
Considering that there will be only one runway working for more than 30 days, airlines have been asked to cut down on flights.
The airline said it will operate flights to 39 destinations from Al Maktoum International Airport in DWC during the 45-day period of the refurbishment project, to ensure minimum disruption to passengers’ travel plans.