Dubai Airports has appointed its first Chief Executive Officer as a key part of the strategy to develop its airports as a separate commercial business, following the restructuring of the erstwhile Dubai Department of Civil Aviation (DCA). Paul Griffiths, former Managing Director of BAA’s London Gatwick Airport, will take up the role on October 1st this year. Griffiths, 49, brings to the role significant commercial experience in the aviation and transport sector.
Prior to joining BAA in 2004, he spent 14 years as an Executive Director of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, where he was responsible for the commercial development of British long-haul airline Virgin Atlantic, before moving to a similar role at the Virgin Rail Group.
Announcing Mr Griffiths’ appointment, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group said, “We welcome Paul as Chief Executive of the newly formed Dubai Airports. This is a crucial time in the development of Dubai’s world-class aviation infrastructure. We are determined to ensure that the expansion of our facilities moves in step with world-class levels of passenger service which is consistent with the philosophy for the growth and prosperity of Dubai.”
DCA’s organisational restructuring was carried out in 2006-2007 with a view to harmonise the strategic goals of its various departments and to streamline the setup. Under the new structure, the organisation will comprise Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (the local regulatory body), Dubai Airports, Air Traffic Services, and Engineering Projects, among other units.
The move holds significance considering the expansion of the existing civil aviation infrastructure in Dubai. A total of AED 300 billion (USD 82 billion) is being invested in numerous civil aviation and aerospace industry projects in Dubai.
Growth of passenger and cargo traffic through Dubai International Airport (DIA) continues to mirror the consistent double-digit rise in Dubai’s GDP. By mid 2008 DIA will open Terminal 3 and Concourse 2, as part of a massive expansion project that will triple its capacity to handle 75 million passengers annually by 2009.
While DIA’s expansion nears completion, work continues at the new International Airport that is at the centre of the USD 33 billion Dubai World Central project. Located 40 Km away from DIA, the airport will radically expand Dubai’ s aviation and logistics infrastructure heralding its emergence as the world’s new aviation hub.
The airport will have a number of passenger terminals and concourses and extensive cargo facilities, while the project as a whole includes logistics, commercial and residential zones as well as an enterprise park and a golf resort.
Upon completion it will be the world’s biggest airport with a capacity to handle 120 million passengers - almost twice the annual passenger throughput of airports such as London’s Heathrow and Chicago’s O’Hare. It will boast up to 16 cargo terminals capable of handling over 12 million tonnes of cargo annually. The first of the airport’s six runways is planned to be operational by October 2007.
Dubai Airports’ new brand image and logos for various entities within the company will be unveiled at the l0th Dubai Airshow scheduled to be held during November later this year.