October 19, 2018 / 11:23 AM / a month ago

Dubai's Al Maktoum airport expansion delayed until 2030 - govt

DUBAI, Oct 19 (Reuters) - A major expansion of Dubai’s second airport Al Maktoum International will open in 2030, the emirate’s government said, five years later than officials had previously indicated.

The airport will be able to handle 130 million passengers a year when the first phase of a planned expansion opens in 2030, and ultimately more than 260 million passengers a year, the statement, released by the Dubai government’s media office on Thursday, said.

Dubai officials had previously said the first phase would open by 2025. The Dubai government media office could not immediately be reached outside working hours on Friday for comment on the reason for the delay.

Dubai expects to spend around $36 billion on the airport expansion and the Dubai World Central aviation complex where it is located.

Reuters reported on Oct. 3 that the expansion had been delayed and that the second stage of financing for the project had been delayed indefinitely.

It is not the first delay to the airport’s expansion. A smaller capacity increase is a year behind schedule, although it is expected to be finished this year. At that point the airport’s capacity is expected to be 26 million passengers per year.

The government also said that Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP) had launched a tender to build the substructure for the airport, in what would be the largest single value contract issued for the airport to date.

Al Maktoum International, which opened to passengers in 2013, currently handles only a fraction of Dubai’s passenger traffic. It will be larger than main airport Dubai International, currently one of the world’s busiest, when the first phase of the expansion opens and eventually become the new base of Emirates airline.

Dubai Airports said in 2016 it was expanding Dubai International to handle 118 million passengers a year by 2023, 18 million more than initially planned, in case the development of Al Maktoum International was delayed. (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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