Dubai – Building an Aerotropolis

dubai1-main-300x220 Dubai – Building an AerotropolisNot content with the world’s busiest international airport, Dubai is building a bigger one as part of a giant economic hub.

Over the past 15 years, Dubai has become a city of superlatives – the world’s tallest building, the world’s largest shopping mall, and the world’s largest manmade island spring to mind. In 2014 Dubai International Airport overtook London Heathrow to become the world’s busiest airport by international passenger traffic, handling 70 million passengers, compared to 68.1 million at Heathrow.

In recent years, the strengthening of occupier demand has resulted in a lack of supply of good quality floor space within close proximity to Dubai International Airport. As a result, authorities at Dubai Airport Freezone (an ‘offshore’ location adjacent to the airport, where a number of multinational firms are already based) have been building new facilities in response to increasing enquiries for space from both new and existing occupiers.

The number of passengers travelling through Dubai International Airport is expected to reach 100 million by 2020, however, scope for expanding the existing site is limited. Officials have now turned to Dubai’s second airport, Al Maktoum International, located in Dubai South, an area covering almost twice the size of Hong Kong Island. The project which spans six to eight years in two phases will increase annual airport capacity to over 120 million.

Over the next decade or so, Dubai South aims to be easily accessible by road, rail, sea and air. Moreover, while the project is part of a long-term strategic masterplan, it also ties in with the World Expo 2020 that will be hosted at Dubai South.

Al Maktoum International Airport is expected to play a crucial role in transporting the surge of foreign visitors. The airline Emirates has stated that if the required facilities at the new airport complete on time, it may move operations across from Dubai International in time for Expo 2020. Given that Emirates is already flying to over 140 destinations across six continents, this will boost the appeal of Dubai South for firms looking for a hub to serve the Middle East, as well as parts of Africa and Asia.

Another major scheme in the pipeline is the Route 2020 metro project, which encompasses the extension of the existing metro line from Jebel Ali (the main seaport) to Al Maktoum International Airport, improving Dubai South’s connectivity with the rest of Dubai. The area is also envisioned to be served by Etihad Rail, which will eventually connect the Emirates with neighbouring countries.

Over the next decade or so, Dubai South aims to be easily accessible by road, rail, sea and air. Moreover, while the project is part of a long-term strategic masterplan, it also ties in with the World Expo 2020 that will be hosted at Dubai South.

Al Maktoum International Airport is expected to play a crucial role in transporting the surge of foreign visitors. The airline Emirates has stated that if the required facilities at the new airport complete on time, it may move operations across from Dubai International in time for Expo 2020. Given that Emirates is already flying to over 140 destinations across six continents, this will boost the appeal of Dubai South for firms looking for a hub to serve the Middle East, as well as parts of Africa and Asia.

Another major scheme in the pipeline is the Route 2020 metro project, which encompasses the extension of the existing metro line from Jebel Ali (the main seaport) to Al Maktoum International Airport, improving Dubai South’s connectivity with the rest of Dubai. The area is also envisioned to be served by Etihad Rail, which will eventually connect the Emirates with neighbouring countries.

Looking forward, Dubai South’s improving connectivity will be pivotal in establishing itself as an important commercial hub in the United Arab Emirates, whilst the Freezone continues to be in a strong position to appeal to firms looking for international reach. The wave of mega infrastructure projects should guarantee Dubai’s reputation as a global centre over the next decade, with Dubai South playing an essential role.

 

Source: Knight Frank