It’s been confirmed today that the expansion of Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport has been suspended. Dubai officials had previously said the first phase would open by 2025, and that the airport will be able to handle 130 million passengers a year when the first phase is complete.
Officials in the UAE have now said the airport will not open until at least 2030 — 12 years from now.
It’s been confirmed the airports’ expansion has been suspended after the second stage of financing for the project was ‘delayed indefinitely.’ While passenger traffic increased for most of the Gulf’s airports in the first half of this year, passenger traffic at Dubai’s Al Maktoum airport was down 6.7%. There was an increase in passenger load factor to an average of 163 passengers per flight, compared to 121 the year before — however, the number of flights operating at Al Maktoum is down 12.5% so far this year.
The suspension of Dubai’s airport expansion comes amid a ‘rough patch’ in Dubai, and the UAE’s aviation industry isn’t alone when it comes to cutbacks. Residential property prices have dropped by more than 15% since late 2014 and are still falling. Dubai’s stock market is down 13% this year, the worst performance in the region.
However, the government has assured that the expansion will go ahead…but not for at least 12 years. In order to further prove the commitment to expanding, Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects have now launched a tender to build the substructure for the airport, which is set to be the largest single value contract issued for the airport to date.