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DÉJÀ VU: On Abu Dhabi’s ‘aerotropolis’ ambitions.

DÉJÀ VU: On Abu Dhabi’s ‘aerotropolis’ ambitions.

As Kipp learns of the developments at Abu Dhabi’s ambitious Midfield Terminal project, we are eerily reminded of Dubai’s delay-prone but equally ambitious Al Maktoum International Airport…

May 7, 2012 6:49 by

Earlier this week, Abu Dhabi Airports Company announced it had selected a handful of construction companies as the preferred bidders for the Midfield Terminal project at the Abu Dhabi International Airport. The terminal, which will cost approximately Dh12 billion, is one of the largest airport projects to put out a tender. The 700,000 square meter Midfield Terminal building, will be able to handle a passenger capacity of 47 million people a year by 2030.

In addition to 200 check-in counters, the Midfield Terminal will be able to handle 8,000 passengers per hour. With over 22 kilometers of conveyors, good luck finding your bags. Security checks, at least, shouldn’t be an issue with more than 136 lanes for special checks.

For some reason, reading about these ambitious plans makes Kipp rather reminiscent. We go back seven years to 2005, when Dubai launched the plan to build the world’s largest airport in the world. By 2007, Dubai World Central, had begun to take shape after contracts worth Dh120 billion had been awarded towards the project. Early 2009, as the date for completion neared, Dubai World Central announced a delay till 2010 due to ” number of factors mostly relating to the readiness of infrastructure and the capability of Dubai International to more than cope with existing traffic.” Since then, rechristened the Al-Maktoum Airport, the airport services cargo-only flights-despite promises to open up to carry passengers in 2011.

OK, so it isn’t exactly a carbon-copy case; with an intended 47 million passengers a year, the Midfield Terminal seems to be a lot more realistic than Dubai World Central’s 160 million passengers. Nonetheless, Kipp does wish the capital caution for its aviation plans: after all the writing is on the wall.

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