When Will Emirates Move To Dubai World City Airport?

It’s been on the cards for a while, and we’re all waiting for updates on the big move. So we thought it would be a good time to round up the information we have already on DWC and the Emirates move.

Built on the south side of the city, in the fast growing area colloquially refered to as “new Dubai”, lies DWC (Dubai Al Maktoum International Airport). The airport is at the heart of an entire airport city offering passengers and visitors all the travel and logistic services they could ever need. It opened to cargo operations on June 27, 2010. It’s been open for passenger flights since October 2013. But most importantly, it’s still growing and a big part of that end goal is Emirates.

Right now – the biggest airport in the world is still quite small

Al Maktoum International is currently only the second-largest airport in Dubai. Until it’s fully realized, Dubai International Airport (DXB) will remain the larger of the two. Right now, Dubai’s flag carrier, Emirates is still based a DXB. But a top government official announced last year that it would move to Al Maktoum International before 2025.

At the time of this announcement, Emirates Airlines hadn’t released a public statement on the matter. But to many people’s minds, this pushed the envelope. Soon after, it told LogisticsMiddleEast.com that it would move. However, it remained silent regarding the exact date.

It’s easy to understand the airline’s reluctance to put a fine point on the timeframe. Right now, the base at DXB is working just fine. Yes, it would like to grow – every airline does – but it’s not waiting on tiptoes to get in. Plus, as you probably know, it’s got other things on its mind. While Etihad and Emirates airlines have publicly denied merger talks, people who asked not to be identified, claim exploratory activities still continue. So it’s hardly surprising, the move isn’t the top of the airline’s to-do-list.

Around the same time as the initial announcement, Emirates’ low-cost subsidiary, flydubai, also confirmed that it would shift operations to the new airport. However, unlike it’s head company, the budget carrier said it planned to move to Al Maktoum much sooner.

Flydubai – growing in both locations

But while the LLC does operate out of DWC, it’s still very much based in Dubai International. In spring of this year, the leadership announced plans to grow business out of both airports rathe than focus on one. Its head office and flight operations continue to be based in Terminal 2 of Dubai International Airport.

Are Emirates waiting to see the cracks?

The Dubai World City Emirates move, may look a little reluctant, but it’s not at all clear yet if DWC could really support the Emirates move right now.

DWC ramping up capacity

Upon completion, DWC will be the world’s largest airport with a capacity of more than 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo per annum. But most importantly, it’s not there yet. In order for Emirates Airline to be able to use the airport, a capacity of 120 million passengers p.a will need to be feasible. Besides, as flydubai have started to grow at DWC, this has freed up space for Emirates to spread its wings. So likely, it’s purposely staying away, but not desperate to move either.

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