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New Dubai airport hit by second nine month delay

New construction delays have hit Dubai’s Al Maktoum International airport in Jebel Ali, which is set to be the largest in the world.

June 2010 original due date

Problems with the 66,000m² airport lounge mean the passenger airport is now scheduled to open until the end of the year at the earliest.

This is the second setback for the airport which was initially due to open for all operations in June 2010 and was then given a new date of March 2011.

Cargo operations began in July 2010, but that problems have occurred with the works on Phase 1, which includes the £17M terminal’s massive airport lounge.

The contractor working on this part of the airport is a joint venture between South Korean company Kumho and local contractor Ascon.

The exact problems are subject to a confidentiality agreement with the client the Department of Civil Aviation Dubai.

Opening date “remains under review”

A Dubai Airports spokesman confirmed the delay and said the opening date “remains under review”.

“Dubai World Central is, and has always been, a long term solution to the capacity expansion plans for Dubai,” he said.

“The focus for the next decade will continue to be [the existing] Dubai International to accommodate the incredible growth we have been experiencing.

That includes the construction of Concourse 3 and other facility enhancements designed to boost our capacity from the current 60 million passengers per year to 90 million by 2018.”

Mega project

Once fully operational in 2020, the airport will be 10 times the size of Dubai International with six parallel runways and three passenger terminals. One terminal will be dedicated to airlines of the Emirates Group, the second to other carriers, and the third dedicated to low cost carriers.

The airport will process 120 million passengers a year.

Once the first phase is opened with its one runway, it will be able to handle the giant Airbus A380.

A test run was completed in July 2010 when the first A380 made a landing at the airport with much fanfare and included the attendance of UAE Vice President, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The entire cost of the project has been said to be about £21.4bn (US$33bn).

Other phases will see the construction of further runways, a 10km underground cargo tunnel to Jebel Ali port, baggage and cargo handling facilities and associated amenities.

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