Construction work at a massive airport project 23-miles southwest of downtown Dubai is said to have been put on hold indefinitely according to several unnamed sources quoted by Bloomberg. Dubai World Central (DWC) or Al Maktoum Airport as its officially known was meant to be the new home of Emirates Airline in little more than five years time and is eventually meant to handle as many as 250 million passengers annually.
The airport first opened with just a cargo terminal in 2010 and has been serving a limited number of passenger airlines since 2013. A phased expansion plan would have originally seen Emirates Airline switch from its current home at DXB to Dubai World Central in 2025.
Sources claim all expansion work at the 35,000-acre site has been put on hold “until further notice” as economies in the Gulf region falter. Completion of the $36 billion first stage expansion which will allow Emirates to move in has been delayed until at least 2030. Last year, airport authorities managed to secure an additional $3 billion in funding but this hasn’t yet been used.
In response to the claims by Bloomberg, a spokesperson for Dubai Airport’s said the “exact timelines and details of next steps are not as yet finalized”.
Annual passenger traffic at DWC actually fell by 4,500 in 2018 and the number of flights to and from the airport dropped by nearly 4,000. The airport should see a spike in numbers this year because it handled more flights diverted from DXB during a near two-month runway closure.
Bloomberg claims Dubai’s economy grew at its slowest pay in nine years and growth in the tourism market has been stagnant since 2017.