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Dubai may delay new airport opening by few months

The airport was slated to open in March 2011.

December 7, 2010 2:06 by

Dubai may delay the start of passenger operations at its new Al Maktoum international airport by a few months, an official said on Tuesday.

The airport — billed as the world’s largest when it becomes fully operational with expected passenger capacity of up to 160 million people a year — was slated to open in March 2011.

“At the moment, we are reviewing the opening date and it looks as if it’ll be later in the year,” Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports, told reporters on the sidelines of an aviation conference.

“We are going to review the passenger terminal capacity and and state of construction in a couple of months and then we’ll be looking at a date.”

Maktoum airport is part of the Dubai World Central transport hub which the Gulf Arab emirate is developing to underpin efforts to become a key Mideast logistics centre.

The airport opened for cargo operations earlier this year.

Griffiths said a planned expansion at Dubai International Airport would increase capacity, allowing the smaller airport to handle up to 90 million passengers by 2018.

“So … it takes the pressure off us having to complete Al Maktoum in the timeframe we were looking for,” he said.

(Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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