Dubai opened what is planned to become the world's largest airport on Sunday, starting with cargo operators, making the emirate a two-airport city, as it aspires to build itself into a global logistics hub.
Dubai Airports, the company overseeing airport projects in the emirate, said in a statement Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International (DWC) started with three cargo flights operated by Rus Aviation, Skyline and Aerospace Consortium, with 13 other freight carriers signed up.
Phase one of DWC includes one runway capable of handling Airbus A380 superjumbos, 64 remote stands, one cargo terminal with capacity for 250,000 tonnes of cargo annually and a passenger terminal building capable of handling 5 million passengers a year.
When completed, the airport will have five runways, up to four terminal buildings and the capacity for 12 million tonnes of freight and 160 million passengers a year.
Completion of the up to $10.9 billion project is estimated to take 10 to 15 years.
Passenger flights are planned to begin end of March 2011, subject to IATA schedule changes, it said.
Aviation accounts for about 25 percent of Dubai's GDP, Sheikh Ahmed said in May.
Image: Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum President of the Dubai Civil Aviation, centre left with scissors, and Paul Griffiths Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Airports, centre right in dark suit, cut the ribbon to inaugurate the first Emirates airline cargo flight.
Text and Images: AP
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