Al Jaber appointed to build next phase of Dubai's Al Maktoum International Airport

Al Maktoum International Airport is set for its next phase of growth after Al Jaber Engineering & Contracting (ALEC) won a deal to expand its passenger terminal building.

Under the deal, ALEC will expand the existing building, which was only opened in 2013, from its current size of 66,107 square metres to 145,926 sq metres. A series of further extensions are planned under later contracts that are designed to raise its maximum capacity to 26.5 million passengers a year in 2017 – a figure it does not expect to reach until 2025.

It is currently capable of handling about 5 million passengers a year. The rapid growth of Dubai as an international hub for air travel has put pressure on the city’s main airport, Dubai International Airport, to cope with surging passenger traffic, driven by the growth of Emirates airline. The new Al Maktoum International Airport is designed to relieve that pressure and ultimately become the world’s biggest airport. The Al Jaber contract includes a new immigration hall with 55 control counters within the arrivals building, as well as a new baggage handling system.

In the departure building, the public hall, commercial areas and offices will all be extended as well as the check-in hall. It will have 100 check-in counters – 90 for economy passengers and 10 for business class, as well as seven economy and four business class self-service check-ins, 26 passport control checkpoints (including six e-gate counters) and 24 boarding lounges.

In arrivals, a new immigration hall with 55 control counters, visa and passenger utilities will be built. The baggage reclaim area will be extended and a new baggage screening area will be added. ALEC has been appointed by Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (Daep), the engineering arm of Dubai Airports Company.

Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, the Chairman of Dubai Airports and Emirates Group, said that the long-term aim was to make Al Maktoum International the world’s biggest airport, guided by the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai “the aviation capital of the world”.

The eventual target for Al Maktoum International is a capacity of 220 million passengers a year.

“We are poised to significantly boost Dubai’s economy by creating a world-class facility capable of handling the growing number of passengers visiting and transiting our city,” Sheikh Ahmed said. ALEC has carried out a number of major projects for Daep over the past few years.

Late last month, it completed the handover of Concourse D at Dubai International Airport, which was a Dh3 billion project that added an extra 340,000 sq metres of space, bringing capacity to 90 million passengers a year. However, traffic is growing quickly, with the airport already handling 78 million passengers, predicted to grow to 85 million this year.

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Michael Fahy

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