Dubai's aviation ambition grows again

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The Independent Travel

Dubai authorities have approved a massive expansion to the emirate's current airport.

The $7.8 billion project will lift capacity at Dubai International, the busiest airport in the United Arab Emirates, to some 90 million passengers a year by 2018 and was approved by Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum this week.

Incredibly, it comes on top of Dubai's current project to build Dubai World Central, the world's largest airport which is currently taking shape outside of the Emirate's urban area and is expected to be capable of handing 160 million passengers a year.

At Dubai International, a new terminal space set to measure some 675,000 square meters will be constructed, twice the size of London Heathrow's Terminal 5.

A remote baggage facility for passengers will be installed, said Dubai Airports, along with an overall baggage upgrade which will mean efficient and timely connections for passengers.

The airport says that its new mega-project is in response to a forecast which shows international passenger traffic will grow by 7.2 percent every year.

With a strategic position between the rapidly growing economies of India/China and Europe, Dubai believes that its future lies as an aviation hub, buoyed by the success of Emirates in building a network and attracting passengers from around the world.

By 2015, authorities believe Dubai International will be the world's busiest airport for passenger traffic, and by 2020, 98.5 million passengers a year are expected to pass through the airport.