By the end of 2007, the new Dubai World Central Airport and its six runways will be the world’s largest passenger and cargo hub capable of handling 120 million passengers – almost double London Heathrow’s current handling capacity. It will also have the capacity to handle 12 million tons of cargo annually, compared to Heathrow’s current 1.3 million tons. Dubai World Central Airport (JXB) will be 10 times larger than Dubai’s existing airport, Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Dubai Cargo Village combined.

But the project will not just be the world’s largest international airport. It will be an entire 140 square kilometre city (almost twice the size of Hong Kong Island) which is making urban planning history with its multi-phase development centred around the airport.

Known as Dubai World Central (DWC), the self-sustaining development at Jebel Ali, some 40 kilometres south of Dubai city centre, originally had a working title of Jebel Ali Airport City. A cluster of specialised zones (cargo terminals, residential properties, business & finance facilities, a golf resort and a technology park) will be located at DWC – a new city where some 750,000 people will live and work – almost that of the population of Leeds.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President, Department of Civil Aviation, Government of Dubai and Chairman of the Emirates Group, Dubai World Central stated: “It is geography that makes this vision possible with huge land availability in a prime location. The long term benefits of Dubai World Central to the UAE, GCC and the wider region are phenomenal and will place this emirate firmly in ‘pole position’ for regional logistics, tourism and commerce. Dubai World Central will not only cater to economic growth but will be a strong catalyst for our next wave of development as a truly global commercial, trade and logistics hub. Dubai World Central will be a global brand known for its superb facilities and infrastructure and for the boost it will give to local and regional economies and downstream to billions of consumers.”

DWC also creates the world’s first truly integrated multi-modal logistics platform with all transportation modes, logistics and value-added services, such as product manufacturing and assembly in a single-bonded free zone environment made up of Dubai Logistics City, Dubai World Central International Airport and Jebel Ali Port. Other DWC components include: Residential City – a combination of freehold and leased quality homes; Commercial City – hundreds of office tower blocks, a golf course resort, and Enterprise Park.

“We have to make history and approach the future with steady steps, not wait for the future to come to us,” commented His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The project is the most strategically important infrastructure development launched by the progressive emirate to date. It is designed to support Dubai’s aviation, tourism, commercial and logistics requirements until 2050 and the infrastructure costs alone will run to £17.4 billion.

The entire complex will be served by the latest technology solutions for security, transport and customer service. An internal light rail network will link the whole development which will also be served by the Dubai Light Rail Network (Dubai Metro).

“This will be a ‘smart city’ – a benchmark for future living and working environments. With our approach we are demonstrating our commitment to delivering a leading-edge proposition which will further push the urban aviation development boundaries,” concluded Sheikh Ahmed.

Dubai World Central International Airport:
The airport will have six parallel runways 4.5 kilometres long, separated by a minimum of 800 metres with a 92 metre high control tower fully equipped with the latest in avionics and navigational aids. It will be capable of handling all new generation aircraft, including the A380 superjumbo.

There will be two luxurious terminals – one dedicated to the services of airlines within the Emirates Group, the second catering to other regional and international carriers. A third is earmarked for charter airlines while dedicated facilities will also be assigned for executive jet operators.

The airport will also boast hotels and shopping malls, support facilities and state-of-the-art maintenance facilities which will create a regional maintenance hub capable of A, B and C checks on all aircraft, including the A380.

DWC will be linked to the existing, award-winning Dubai International Airport (DXB) via an express rail system and will be serviced by the Dubai Light Railway Network (Dubai Metro). Some 100,000 car parking spaces will be available for airport parking and car rental services.

Dubai Logistics City:
Dubai Logistics City – this key component in Dubai’s unique, truly integrated multi-modal logistics proposition – represents Phase 1 of DWC. Designed as the region’s unchallenged logistics hub, it will supply a regional market of some two billion people throughout the Middle East, Indian Sub-continent, Africa and the CIS – all within three to four hours flying time from Dubai.

Spanning 25 square kilometres, DLC is designed to ultimately handle 12 million tonnes of air cargo annually in up to 16 air cargo terminals. Work is already underway on the project, which is due to be operational by September 2007, on the first 4.5 kilometre, CAT III, all-weather runway which allows for automatic landing.

DLC will have its own aviation area, a dedicated cluster for specialised aviation industry suppliers and offering direct apron access and a dedicated labour village accommodating up to 40,000 workers in purpose-built surroundings. The labour village will be built and managed by DLC setting a new benchmark in labour accommodation. DLC will also have state-of-the-art office buildings, land plots for dedicated industrial business, trading companies, distributors, logistics service providers and forwarders, shared facilities, such as warehouses and modern air-side cargo handling facilities. E-customs for all shipments will be introduced within the year.

Residential City:
Developed in three phases and covering some 7.16 million square metres, freehold land plots in Residential City are to be offered to developers on the open market to build in accordance with masterplan guidelines. Up to 250,000 people and 20,000 employees are expected to live and work in the ‘city’. Dubai Metro and a dedicated, integrated road network will serve Residential City which will also include three hotels – five, four and three-star properties – a shopping mall plus a full range of civic amenities including schools.

Homes will be a mix of two-storey villas and luxury apartments in blocks ranging up to 24 storeys high. Marketing of land plots has already begun and development will begin at the end of 2006.

Commercial City:
Developed in five phases, this ‘city’ will cover some 14.53 million square metres. Designed as DWC’s business and finance hub, Commercial City will feature more than 850 towers, ranging from six to 75 storeys offering superdeluxe homes and luxury villas and it will be home to a variety of businesses employing around 130,000 people. The taller perimeter blocks will have views of Nakheel’s Arabian Canal project. The ‘city’ will offer up to 25 hotels ranging from deluxe through to three-star.

Land plots are to be sold to leading developers who will build in accordance with the approved DWC masterplan and design requirements.

Golf Resort:
To be offered on the open market to a private developer, DWC will feature two 18-hole golf courses each offering a distinct feel – a traditional desert links style and a more lush, tropical resort course. In addition there will be extensive practice facilities, driving ranges and putting greens as well as a luxury clubhouse with restaurants and a pro-shop. The golf resort will also feature a high-end boutique 150 room hotel and a spa resort.

Up to 2,500 freehold homes from two storey villas to 24-storey apartment blocks will surround the courses which will be about six kilometres away from the airport backing on to the Arabian Canal. Development is due for completion by the end of 2010.

For more on Dubai at ITKT