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Dubai launches US$33bn Airport City

The final plans for a massive multi-phase development, centred upon the world’s largest international airport, were unveiled at the Arabian Travel Market 2006 last week.

The final plans for a massive multi-phase development, centred upon the world’s largest international airport, were unveiled at the Arabian Travel Market 2006 last week.

Dubai World Central (DWC) – developed under the working title of Jebel Ali Airport City – will cover an area of 140 square km, over twice the size of Hong Kong Island.

The self-sustaining development, at Jebel Ali, some 40 km south of Dubai city centre, includes Dubai World Central International Airport (JXB) – which when complete will be the world’s largest with a capacity equal to that currently of Chicago’s O’Hare and London’s Heathrow – and a cluster of specialised zones.

Eventually, around 750,000 people will live and work in DWC. Infrastructure costs alone are expected to top US$33 billion, according to those behind the project – His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of the Department of Civil Aviation at the Government of Dubai, and chairman of the Emirates Group.

“We have to make history and approach the future with steady steps, not wait for the future to come to us,” said H.H. Sheikh Mohammed, at the launch.

JXB will have an annual capacity of over 12 million tonnes of cargo, and 120 million passengers – over 10 times the size of the current Dubai International Airport and Dubai Cargo Village combined. The airport will have six parallel runways, overseen by a 92m high control tower – the highest in the Middle East – the ‘flower concept’ icon design of which will create an aviation landmark for the region.

There will be two luxurious terminals - the first dedicated to the services of airlines within the Emirates Group, the second catering to other regional and international carriers. A third, highly functional terminal is earmarked for low cost charter airlines. The airport will be capable of handling all new-generation aircraft, including the A380 superjumbo currently under order from Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways, among others.

JXB will be linked to the existing, award-winning Dubai International Airport via an express rail system and ultimately will be serviced by the Dubai Light Railway Network (Dubai Metro). Some 100,000 car-parking spaces will be available for airport parking and car rental services.

As well as JXB, DWC will comprise Dubai Logistics City, Jebel Ali Port, Residential City, which will offer a combination of freehold and leased quality homes, Commercial City, which will feature hundreds of office tower blocks, a golf course resort, and Enterprise Park, which will be the region’s premier centre of excellence for technology manufacturing and science and technology education.

“With Dubai World Central we are taking the future into our own hands,” said Sheikh Ahmed. “Dubai World Central will be a global brand known for its superb facilities and infrastructure, and for the boost it will give to local and regional economies and downstream to billions of consumers.

“It is geography that makes this vision possible with huge land availability in a prime location,” he continued. “The long term benefits of Dubai World Central to the UAE, GCC and the wider region are phenomenal and will place this emirate firmly in ‘pole position’ for regional logistics, tourism and commerce.

“Dubai World Central will not only cater to economic growth, but will be a strong catalyst for our next wave of development as a truly global commercial, trade and logistics hub.”

The entire DWC complex will be served throughout by the latest technology solutions for the key security, transport and customer service operations.

“This will be a ‘smart city’ – a beacon of future living and working environments,” added Sheikh Ahmed.

“With our smart city approach we are demonstrating our commitment to delivering a leading-edge proposition which will further push the urban aviation development boundaries.”

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