Dubai South, owner and operator of Al Maktoum International Airport’s Aviation District, plans to open up to seven new Code F hangars, located adjacent to plots already taken by Dubai’s DC Aviation Al-Futtaim and Falcon Aviation–and capable of fitting an Airbus A380–by 2022, bringing the total to nine.
“We have concluded a deal with ExecuJet for three Code C hangars," said Tahnoon Saif, CEO aviation, Dubai South, "and with DC Aviation for two. Jetex has already completed their hangar. Now we are working on support activities. We are building VIP catering facilities, set for completion in the second quarter of 2020, as well as a fuel farm for private jets, which should be finished in 2019."
It is clear that plans for the Aviation District have crystallized significantly since the last MEBAA Dubai event in 2016, and hangarage forms a major part of the proposition, as operators, particularly in Saudi Arabia, are hamstrung by a dearth of adequate facilities for parking, to say nothing of protecting aircraft from the harsh summer environment in the region. Lufthansa Technik, GE, and AII Corporation have all taken on standalone hangar commitments in the district, Saif said.
The Aviation District is located in the south-western zone of the larger DWC site and contains an airside freezone, aerospace supply chain, hospitality, warehousing, light industry, and education facilities, as well as the Emirates Flight Training Academy, which opened in 2017.
“From a sales perspective at the Aviation District this year, we had a number of developing projects," Saif said. "We concluded five Code C plots, and construction started on our second aerospace supply chain facility, which will be completed by early 2019. It's been a very busy year."
Saif said the MEBAA Show played an important role in bring potential operators into Dubai South’s orbit. “When visitors come here, they see something different and that things have evolved and developed. It is a two-year cycle, where we are showcasing our projects, and they attract a number of investors and operators. Operators who come to MEBAA are our potential clients. We are proving to them what we were promising in [recent] years.”
He said he expects 10 percent growth in total aircraft movements at Dubai’s two airports in 2018, to almost 15,000 movements. “By the end of this year, we expect to conclude 10 percent growth on 2017. We had 14,700 movements in Dubai last year. We are expecting 19,000 movements by 2020.”
Dubai South is in negotiation with up to five operators for the launch of helicopter services from DWC’s VIP Terminal, he said. Falcon Aviation would be one of the operators, but negotiations are still under way with other potential players. As one of the UAE’s leading helicopter fleet owners, Falcon has enjoyed great success with its sight-seeing heli-services from Atlantis The Palm, claiming it is the second-busiest such facility in the world, handling 33,000 passengers a year.
Saif also confirmed that although the launch of the Phase 2 Midfield Terminal Building at DWC for scheduled passenger traffic had been delayed five years to 2030, “construction of a 120 million passenger terminal has started. Enabling works are going on for Runways 3 and 4."
Saif did not rule out the idea that temporary additional FBO facilities might be made available for the Expo 2020 event, which takes place in the northeast zone of the DWC airport site. Construction there is now well underway. “We are working with operators to have a solution during Expo 2020, although the operations are efficient at the VIP Terminal. We are looking into a seamless process of VIP handling during the Expo. We want to showcase the Dubai welcome at the event.”