Dubai’s Al Maktoum airport was originally aiming to be one of the world’s biggest…but it currently only handles a fraction of Dubai’s passenger traffic. It’s also being quickly overtaken by the new ‘megahub’ airports opening in Turkey, and China.
Last year, Dubai delayed the expansion project of Al Maktoum airport until 2018. Now, ten months into 2018, the UAE state has announced that the Al Maktoum project has been delayed, again.
The second stage of financing, which was to be backed by foreign credit agencies, has also been delayed indefinitely, according to Reuters.
The expansion of Al Maktoum was intended to create an airport that could directly replace Dubai International, and become the new home of Emirates. However, as of today, the only Emirates jets at Al Maktoum are a couple of Airbus A380s, which the airline has ‘in storage’ there — amid Emirates’ pilot shortage (due to a recent wave of mass resignations) and a weakening in demand. While Emirates (state-owned) revenue has improved over the last year, with profits rising to $762 million — the airline is facing headwinds that is expected to weaken its financials for the current year.
The global aviation industry as a whole is facing challenges this year, and the Middle East isn’t exempt. Dubai originally said it was expecting to spend about $36bn on the Al Maktoum International project, but for now, everything is once again on hold.