Dubai: Al Maktoum International opening to passenger traffic this week could be the much needed catalyst for the pace of development in Dubai World Central to pick up.

Significant planning has been going on in the background of the Dubai World central and with the arrival of passengers at Dubai’s newest airport the work could shortly emerge to the surface.

“We will see some announcements fairly soon after once the passenger traffic finally sets in,” Jesdev Saggar, Managing Director, Infrastructure Developments & Capital, MENA at Deloitte, said.

The Dubai World Central master plan is comprised of eight districts: logistics, aviation, Al Maktoum International Airport, humanitarian, residential, commercial, leisure, exhibition and commercial.

“I would envision residential [developments] popping up in the six months after passenger traffic and very closely there after you will see some large kind of logistical warehousing and office developments,” Saggar, said.

The proximity of the Dubai World Central to Jebel Ali Free Zone is also seen as a tremendous advantage. From Mohammad Bin Zayed road it is 2 kilometres from the Jebel Ali port and less than 10 kilometres from the Free Zone extension.

The completed development – to be delivered in phases – is estimated to cost in excess of $32 billion.

“There is no point investing in infrastructure until the traffic flows are there. It will come at time when demand is there,” John Strickland, Director at UK-based aviation advisory JLS Consultancy, said.

Dubai World Central is also set to be venue for Expo 2020 if Dubai is successful in its bid but with the host city to be announced next month, Saggar said Dubai has not banked on winning the event to drive developments on the site.

He said that developments would be accelerated by a successful but would go ahead regardless of whether or not Dubai hosted the 2020 event.

“The Al Maktoum story is not about if but when,” Saggar said.

The emergence of Al Maktoum International in Dubai World Central is substantially investment by the Dubai government into the economy. According to Saggar, tens of billions of dirhams have already been invested in the area but a lot more money is needed to make it a destination.

He said that over the short to medium term there will be an even mix across hotel leisure, residential, and industrial developments.

The short term will see more business hotels but over time there will be an increase in leisure desert hotels. Saggar pointed out these developments would be inclined to speed up if Dubai is successful in its Expo bid.