The expansion of Dubai International Airport has grown hand in hand with Dubai City. Llike most projects underway here in Dubai, the expansion is progressing rapidly, aiming to reach a capacity of 120 million by 2006. Over 107 airlines currently use the airport and DIA is now reaching out to the Chinese marketplace. Anita Mehra Homayoun, Marketing and Corporate Communications Director speaks to Breaking Travel News at Arabian Travel Market.BTN: How is the expansion of Dubai Airport progressing?
AMH: The one we are doing now is well on it’s way and we will be finished by 2006 and then the one in Jebel Ali has also started - the logistic city - they have already broken ground and the first phase will be finished in 2007.
BTN: The total capacity is about 200 million passengers. When do you expect to fill that capacity?
AMH: It’s not really 200 million. It’s 120 million in Jebel Ali and it’s 70 million in the existing facility and I I think what will happen is that when we reach a stage where we can move completely to Jebel Ali then the capacity will be used to 120 million. I don’t think they will both be used to capacity - but you never know in Dubai - that’s possible. We might keep both airports but I think that’s what’s going to happen.
BTN: How much is the pace of internal infrastructure such as roads keeping up with your development?
AMH: So far around our airport and also in the Jebel Ali area they have been keeping up. They have been working very hard. I know the plans which they are putting, especially for the monorail which will be the light rail system to take people not only from Dubai but also the Northern Emirates to take them from Abu Dhabi but I think we will probably have at least 2 years of the type of congestion that you see now and that you are experiencing now but they are well aware and are working to try and keep up with the expansion.
BTN: Have many other international airlines shown interest in starting operations out of Dubai?
AMH: I am sure you are aware of the route networking events that we go to and I was in China for the first China Air Summit we already have Air China and are talking to China Southern and four different Chinese airlines. Emirates has opened up different destinations - we are talking to Korean airlines. We have 107 airlines using our airport other than others.
BTN: As the capacity grows, what proportion of the traffic here will be transit and what will be destination?
AMH: That’s interesting because when I started, the traffic was 50% of our total traffic but now it’s about 7% of it and I think that will continue because Emirates is a destination. With Emirates expanding, it will go up - probably to 15%. But Dubai is a now definitely destination for leisure.
BTN: You have also won a World Travel Award.
AMH: We are very proud of that. Winning this award is really a seal of approval from our passengers and from people using the airport and it tells us that we are on the right track and I hope that we won’t rest on our achievements, the main thing is to try and give the best service possible to make people comfortable.