Well connected: RTA operates feeder buses to Ibn Battuta and Satwa bus depots Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/XPRESS

Dubai: The opening of the new passenger terminal at Dubai World Central (DWC) on October 27 has raised several questions about the cost and convenience of travel to and from Al Maktoum International Airport.

Allaying fears about the huge distance of DWC from the city, Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, said: “For those living on the Palm or south of the Palm, it is equidistant to travel to DWC as it is to Dubai Airport.”

He said the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has provided adequate bus and taxi services from the new airport for the convenience of the public.

Costly fare

But Sharjah-based Diana, who took two taxis on October 27, said she paid Dh65 on the first trip to reach Dubai and Dh105 more from Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) to DWC. “That’s a lot of money. It took me a lot of time as well.”

Taxi drivers at the airport bay said the return trip from the airport would cost an additional Dh20 as the minimum airport charges would apply.

One visitor said it took him 45 minutes to reach DWC from the Dubai World Trade Centre roundabout through Shaikh Zayed Road — a distance of about 55km.

Dubai-based Mohammad Julfar and Munther Juma, who were all set to take the first Wizz Air flight out of DWC, said it took them just 35 minutes from Deira on Emirates Road. “We are going to Budapest on the first direct flight from DWC. We didn’t mind the travel at all — these days, airports in most major cities are located outside the city limits.”

Although only three airlines — Wizz Air, Al Jazeera Airways and Gulf Air — currently fly to six destinations (Bahrain, Kuwait, Budapest, Bucharest, Sophia and Kiev) from DWC, more airlines are expected to use the airport, especially when the runway rehabilitation project at Dubai Airport gets underway next year. Thirty-six cargo airlines also use DWC.

But none of the airlines provides pick-up or drop-off facilities for passengers. “The RTA arrangements are sufficient to meet the demand,” said Jozef Varadi, CEO, Wizz Air.

Marwan Boodai, Chairman of Al Jazeera Airways, said his airline too would rely on public transport. “The first question we asked when we decided to operate from DWC was how passengers would commute. But we are fully satisfied as the RTA has made adequate arrangements.”

Currently, RTA runs two feeder bus services from DWC to Ibn Battuta and Satwa bus depots. The routes are 55 and 55A. But with luggage in tow, some passengers said they preferred to take taxis.

A local visitor attending the airport launch ceremony who was also getting into a taxi said: “RTA should seriously rethink the Dh20 minimum charge because this airport is very far. I am told the fare to Ibn Battuta alone would come up to Dh70 or so.”

A number of car rental services have also opened shop with daily rates starting from Dh140.