Dubai International’s airport cargo facilities are set to undergo a major modernisation and expansion programme that will see air cargo capacity increased to 3.1-million tons by 2018.
Over the next few months, as part of Dubai Airports’ $7.8 billion Strategic Plan 2020, construction is set to begin on a 30,000m2 addition to Dubai International’s 1.2 million tonne Cargo Mega Terminal (CMT), increasing capacity by 25 per cent to 1.5-million tonnes a year. Dubai International’s original cargo facilities, Hall A and Freight Gate 1, located adjacent to the CMT, will also undergo a complete refurbishment. Together these facilities will be dedicated for the sole use of Emirates airline.
A new transshipment facility with capacity for 400,000 tonnes of freight a year is also under construction. Once complete, it will handle about 60 per cent of cargo transferred between Dubai International and Dubai World Central, Dubai’s second airport. The new facility will be erected on the former site of the Airport Expo building which was partially demolished earlier this year to make way for it and a new baggage processing facility.
The new infrastructure responds to growing volumes of freight being transported through Dubai. Total annual cargo volumes across both airports are projected to surge from the 2.19-million tonnes recorded last year to 4.1-million tonnes by 2020.
“Construction of the new facilities at Dubai International will take place in several stages to ensure the day-to-day working of the airport is not disrupted,” said Jeff Gould, VP Development at Dubai Airports.
Chris Garton, SVP, Operations at Dubai Airports, noted that “the continued growth in cargo volumes as well as the size of the airport meant that cargo facilities could no longer be clustered into one area. The new infrastructure will not only increase our capacity but go a long way to simplifying what has become an increasing complex cargo operation as the airport has grown.”
While the greater flexibility at Dubai World Central is attracting an increasing number of dedicated cargo operators, Dubai International will remain an important cargo hub with growth in belly cargo driven by Emirates airline’s ongoing network expansion.