An Emirates A380 aircraft and the UAE's Al Forsan aerobatic team at an earlier edition of Dubai Air Show. Image Credit: Gulf News file

Dubai: The aviation world’s eyes will be trained on Dubai this week as one of the aerospace and defence industry's biggest parties, the Dubai Airshow, events gets underway. Mega-deals are expected.

A battle between aviation giants Airbus and Boeing will unravel in the coming hours, or days.

The last Dubai Airshow drew 79,380 trade visitors and 1,200 exhibitors from 63 countries — with orders booked in excess of $113.8 billion. This year, the numbers are expected to be bigger.

The Dubai Airshow 2019, hosted by Dubai World Central (DWC), is one of the largest such events in the world, and the biggest of its kind in the Middle East.

Granted, more visitors and exhibitors may have joined the larger Farnborough and Paris events, but the Dubai Airshow has staged the biggest deals.

A no fly zone for Dubai Drones 19_11_14
Dubai Civil Aviation warned residents not to fly their drones around Al Maktoum International Airport from November 13-21, 2019. Image Credit: Supplied

To be sure, this week’s event will be a battleground for airframers and arms manufacturers. Billions of dollars worth of civilian and military aircraft deals are expected to be signed.

All of this takes place at the Dubai World Central (DWC).

What is Dubai World Central?

Dubai World Central (IATA codename: DWC), also known as Al Maktoum International Airport, is Dubai’s fast-growing aviation gateway.

Dubbed as Dubai’s airport of the future, it lies at the forefront of the Middle East’s breakneck airport development. It is close to the World Expo 2020 venue.

It complements Dubai International airport (DXB), where passenger numbers are already racing towards 100 million, making DXB the world’s busiest international hub, overtaking London Heathrow.

Where is DWC?

DWC is situated in a sprawling airport facility located in Jebel Ali, 37 kilometres (23 mi) southwest of Dubai.

It is the main part of Dubai South, a planned residential, commercial and logistics complex.

DWC is also close to the World Expo 2020 venue.

When did DWC begin operations?

On June 27, 2010, cargo operations were launched at the DWC. Three years later, on October 27, 2013, DWC opened its doors to its 7-million passenger capacity terminal.

Why did Dubai build DWC?

Dubai expects a massive rise in passenger traffic over its skies. DXB is already the world’s busiest airport in terms of international passengers.

The city expects to become the primary air hub for transiting travelers from the Asia–Pacific Region, South Asia, Greater Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Australia.

How big is it?

It covers an area of 14,000 hectares (35,000 acres), or about 140 square km. Al Maktoum International Airport will be the largest component of Dubai World Central, with a surface area of more than 280 square kilometres (110 sq mi).

The airport will have an annual cargo capacity of 12 million tonnes and a passenger capacity of 160 to 260 million people per year. DWC intends to handle all types of aircraft.

How much did it cost?

$82 billion is the total cost of this massive complex, based on estimates given by the Dubai government.

How many runways does DWC have?

DWC has room for up to six 4,500 m (14,800 ft) parallel runways, with a large passenger complex in the middle. DXB, by comparison, has only two runways.

Each of DWC's runways would have extended pathways on either side which would allow aircraft to bypass other runways and taxiways without disturbing aircraft movements of these runways and taxiways.

What is the DWC’s maximum capacity?

Upon completion, DWC will become the world’s largest airport with an ultimate capacity of more than 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo per annum.

What other facilities are being built around DWC?

It is surrounded by a logistics hub, a luxurious golf resort, a trade and exhibition facility with 3 million square metres of exhibition space, a commercial district, and a residential and hotel area.

The airport forms the heart of a greater project, the 140-square-km multiphase development of clustered zones, including:

  • Dubai Logistics City (DLC)
  • Residential City
  • Commercial City
  • Aviation City
  • Golf City

What facilities are there, or are planned, at DWC-Al Maktoum International airport?

The airport will contain transport modes, logistics and value-added services, including manufacturing and assembly, in a single free economic zone.

The airport will include:

  • 3 passenger terminals, including 3 luxury facilities: 1 dedicated to Emirates, the second to other carriers, and the third dedicated to low-cost carriers:
  • Multiple concourses, executive and royal jet centres; hotels and shopping malls
  • Support and maintenance facilities: the region's only hub for all aircraft up to A380 specs

Will DWC be linked with DXB?

Yes, DWC-Al Maktoum International will be linked to the existing Dubai International airport (DXB), some 40 km (25 mi) away,  by a proposed high-speed express rail system, and served by the Dubai Metro and a dedicated DWC light railway.

How many parking lots are there at DWC?

Up 100,000 parking slots for vehicles of its employees, Dubai residents, tourists, and other users of DWC.