Al Maktoum International Airport: Everything We Know About Dubai’s New  Billion Project
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Al Maktoum International Airport: Everything We Know About Dubai’s New $35 Billion Project

The sprawl of Dubai seems to grow month by month. Which, when hearing of Dubai’s new airport, makes one wonder where in the city it could be located? More importantly, perhaps, is when will it open? Below, AD details everything known (so far) about the Al Maktoum International Airport, a futuristic addition to Dubai’s skyline.

It almost goes without saying that air travel is big in Dubai. Last year, Dubai International Airport (DXB) handled 86.9 million passengers and retained its crown as the world’s busiest international hub for the 10th year running. As part of its economic agenda D33, Dubai wants to further improve these figures to attract a further $27 billion (Dh100 billion) in tourism investments. But DXB presents an obstacle to that goal: its options for expansion are limited by the residential developments and highways nearby (it’s less than three miles from the city centre). The answer is a radical shake-up of Dubai’s airport offering, with a huge expansion of Al Maktoum International Airport outside the city to replace DXB. Here are the key takeaways on the newly announced plan.

Exterior shot of Dubai's new airport Al Maktoum International Airport world's most expensive airport futuristic architecture

The proposed rendering of Al Maktoum’s new futuristic hub.

Photo: Dubai Government/AP

How big is Dubai’s new Al Maktoum International Airport?

Opened in 2010, Al Maktoum was originally built for cargo flights, but in 2022, it received an estimated 877,400 commercial passengers, so it has plenty of infrastructure on which to build. Indeed, tourism in the UAE is growing, with 17.15 million international arrivals last year, up from 16.73 million visitors in 2019, according to Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (this statistic represents the city’s best ever annual tourism performance).

Once completed, the new “airport city” will be over five times the size of Dubai International Airport (DXB): to put this into perspective, DXB is already ranked the world’s top hub for international passenger traffic, so its scale will be awe-inspiring.

The new Dubai airport will span 27-square-miles and will have 400 aircraft gates and five parallel runways. It’s anticipated that the facility will handle 12 million tonnes of cargo per year. To do so, the airport will harness cutting-edge technology to maximize efficiency.