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Propsearch guide to Dubai real estate: Developments

Al Maktoum International Airport (Dubai World Central)

Airport, Dubai South, Dubai
Al Maktoum International Airport Key Information
Location type
Also known as
Dubai World Central

Al Maktoum International Airport Overview

Located at the heart of Dubai South, the Al Maktoum International Airport (AMIA) is Dubai’s second airport. It has been operating cargo and passenger flights since 2010 and 2013 respectively and, when completed, will become the world’s largest airport with an ultimate capacity exceeding 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo each year.

The Airport is now being expanded from the present single runway to an eventual five. The expansion is being phased over a number of years; see 'Masterplan' below.

  • The project was launched in January 2006.
  • The handover process began in June 2010 and finished in February 2011.
  • From Al Maktoum International Airport it takes roughly 40 minutes to drive to Dubai Mall, 32 minutes to Palm Jumeirah, 38 minutes to Burj Al Arab and 33 minutes to The Walk JBR.
  • In mid-2019 there were reports that work on Al Maktoum airport had been put on hold owing to the Gulf States’ faltering economies. Construction activity was halted and finances for expansion frozen until further notice.
    The completion date for the first phase of the airport had already been pushed back five years to 2030 in October 2018.
    According to Bloomberg, in 2018 Dubai’s economy grew at the slowest pace since 2010 as the Gulf’s chief commercial centre ‘grappled with fallout from geopolitical tensions and a low oil price’. With tourism stagnant since 2017 Emirates airline remains based at the original Dubai International while it reworks its strategy and fleet plans.

Al Maktoum International Airport Milestones
Date Launched
January 2006
Handover Started
June 2010
Handover Finished
February 2011
Proximity to landmarks
Palm Jumeirah
32 mins drive
La Mer by Meraas
49 mins drive
Mall of the Emirates
35 mins drive
Dubai Mall
40 mins drive
Burj Al Arab
38 mins drive
Ibn Battuta Mall
29 mins drive
The Walk JBR
33 mins drive
Dubai International Airport
48 mins drive

Construction History

VIP Terminal

In December 2016 a new VIP terminal was inaugurated, claiming to be the largest purpose-built facility of its kind in the world.

Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the 5,600sq m terminal caters for private, business and government VIP travellers. It has dedicated customs, immigration and police services, as well as separate drop-off and lounge areas. Shops inside offer luxury ‘goods’ including paintings, sculptures, cars, watches and property.

The building’s design is inspired by the aerodynamic lines of an aircraft wing. The seamless lines of the structure are replicated in the classically designed interiors that are fitted with luxury materials including solid oak panelling. Louvered screens coated in a special bronze and gold metallic finish ‘allow the play of light to lend depth, perspective and privacy’.

Aero­­space supply chain

The aero­­space supply chain facility is a planned 157,000sq m development of aerospace support services at Al Maktoum International Airport.

The facilities are being built in three phases and were expected to be complete in 2018.

The first phase was completed in early 2017 and includes a landside facility stretching over 9,000sq m and 12 units catering to small and medium enterprises in the maintenance, repair and overhaul sector.

The second phase began in March 2017 and was due to complete by the end of the year.

The third phase started in July 2017 and was scheduled to be finished by mid-2018.

The supply chain’s key advantage is its strategic location, offering unrivalled access to both the Al Maktoum International Airport and Jebel Ali Port, as well as benefits from Dubai South’s multi-modal logistics platform.

Al Maktoum International Airport in the News


In response to the continuous pressure exerted by the growth of the aviation sector on the Dubai International Airport site and the envisioned saturation of the airport in the near future, the planning and implementation of a new “Airport City”, the Dubai South development in Jebel Ali area, was launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in January 2006.

The concept employed for the Airport City is one of simple integration. This entails the creation of a direct relationship defined by proximity, between a new airport, Al Maktoum International, and its functions and the surrounding synergetic land uses, thus forming the basis of a city level community. While the airport/aviation primary functions could operate satisfactorily in isolation, their economic attractions are sufficiently powerful to attract significant developments.

Al Maktoum International Airport will cover a land area of nearly 65 sq km, an enormous size for an airport by any standard, lying within the 140sq km of the Dubai South site.

Located 40km away from the centre at the southwest end of Dubai, the airport can be accessed by three major road arteries serving the Emirate of Dubai and the other Emirates of the UAE; the Sheikh Zayed Road, the Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road, and the Emirates Road.

The metro has been extended to reach the new airport, providing a speedier, relaxed and hassle free transportation mode for originating and departing passengers. Furthermore, the advantage of the Etihad Rail line connecting to the airport will transform Al Maktoum International to a huge multimodal transportation hub.

It will be an airport of an unprecedented scale, capable of handling in excess of 220 million passengers and over 12 million tonnes of cargo per year on its completion. Al Maktoum International airport is estimated to be around ten times the size of the present Dubai International Airport.

The airport will be the new hub for Emirates Airline, within a non-constrained site able to respond to the continuous and ambitious growth of the airline that is recording double digit growth, year after year.

The main characteristics of the airport are:

  • Five parallel Code F runways of 4.5km each in length, spaced wide apart in order to provide for simultaneous quadruple parallel aircraft approaches.
  • The first all-weather instrument landing system (Cat IIIB) which allows operations under low visibility conditions.
  • Triple Code F parallel taxiway system next to the two runways on either side of the central terminal area. Triple Code F cross field taxiways across the central terminal area in order to minimize taxiing distances and time.
  • Critical aircraft box dimensions of 85m x 85m that cater for the new generation expanded aircraft versions from the leading manufacturers of Airbus and Boeing.
  • Apron design encompassing dual Code F push back taxi lanes for each contact stand.
  • Two terminal facilities on either side of the airport site, west and east, providing a capacity for over 50 million O/D passengers in total. Entrance to the two terminals will be provided through state-of-the-art developments at the access points of the international hub.
  • Four satellite concourses featuring an innovative triple-plus layout 2.8km long encompassing three nodes, each the size of seven football fields.
  • Concourses, each with 100 wide-body aircraft contact stands and 65 million capacity, totaling over 220 million passengers capacity for the entire airport with over 400 wide-body contact stands.
  • Innovative concourse functional design aiming to raise passenger experience to new levels, never before experienced at any airport.
  • An outstanding six-track automated people mover system, connecting the airport’s two terminals with its four satellite concourses designed to allow arriving and departing passengers to reach their destinations on a fast travel journey, as well as allowing transfer passengers to circulate between concourses in a set minimum connect time, thus enabling them to board their next flight, efficiently, timely and comfortably, with the added advantage of enjoying the state of the art airport offerings.
  • Efficient city rail network that enables express service for passengers who check in a drop their bags in town travel straight to the airport. The city rail network will also provide convenience for all commuter passengers and employees to reach their place of work at the airport.
  • A massive 40km subterranean road network with multiple lanes, being the operational backbone of the airport, connecting the huge support facilities area on the north, to the central terminal area and the cargo area to the south of the site.
  • The most advanced automated global logistics system ever used at an airport, featuring a gigantic scale baggage handling system. A system featuring a network targeted for full connectivity within the airport’s massive site and enabling high speed responsive transport of goods, cargo, baggage, catering, spare parts etc, between the four corners of the site.
  • A massive 8sq km cargo facility area at the south of the site, supported by the quick cargo transfer facilities.
  • A 5sq km-plus state-of-the-art maintenance facilities and airport support infrastructure area, providing all the necessary facilities to maintain and operate the airport.
  • Huge landside commercial area, providing for hotel and shopping mall development to support the airport operations.

Presently (2020) the airport operates with a single runway but is about to undergo a US$ 32bn expansion, which will enable the airport to accommodate more than 240 million passengers a year.

The expansion will be built in two phases over six to eight years. The first phase is scheduled to complete in 2030 and includes:

  • two more parallel Code F, CAT III B, 4.5 Km runways each with a capability of simultaneous operation (bringing the total to three)
  • an additional, West, Terminal with a 165,000 sqm footprint and capable of handling 35 million passengers annually
  • 2 Satellite concourses each with a 385,000 sq m footprint and each capable of handling 65 million passengers a year, 200 wide-body aircraft contact stands, comprising 100 stands each for Code E and Code F aircraft
  • Six train links between terminals and concourses (2 tracks each for departure, arrivals and transfers), 3 stations at each concourse and 1 at the West terminal
  • Express train on the Dubai Metro connecting the city to the West terminal
  • Extension to the Metro Red Line and a new Purple Line


The second phase does not yet have a delivery date but will include:

  • two more parallel Code F, CAT III B, 4.5 Km runways each with a capability of simultaneous operation (bringing the total to five)
  • an additional East Terminal with annual capacity of 15 million passengers
  • 2 more satellite concourses each capable of handling 65 million passengers a year raising the airport’s total annual capacity to 260 million passengers, and 200 more wide-body aircraft contact stands, raising the total to 200 stands each for Code E and Code F aircraft
  • Six extra train links between terminals and concourses (2 tracks each for departure, arrivals and transfers), 3 stations at each concourse and 1 at the West terminal bringing the total to 14 stations (12 at the concourses, 1 at the West Terminal and 1 at the East Terminal)
  • Cargo facilities increased to 16 million tonnes per year

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