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January 5, 2015

Middle East: Dubai Ramps Up Infrastructure Roll Out

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Dubai has upped the ante in the infrastructure investment stakes with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, endorsing a US$32 billion (AED120 billion) expansion of Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC). 

The package, which will expand the facility to accommodate more than 200 million passengers annually, was announced in September, swiftly followed in October with several new infrastructure projects coming to fruition. 

The DWC development will be built in two phases. The first will take between six and eight years to complete and includes two satellite buildings with a collective capacity of 120 million annual passengers, accommodating 100 A380 aircraft at any one time. It’s designed to keep pace with the emirate’s aviation industry growth with passenger traffic at Dubai International Airport expected to hit 100 million by the end of 2020. Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports said Dubai’s aviation sector is set to contribute 28 percent of Dubai’s GDP by 2020. 

Although on a much smaller scale, another example of Dubai’s vision to provide world-class transportation and connectivity was October’s successful test run of the Dubai Tram, the region’s first tramway system, which will start operations in November. Complementing Dubai Metro and Palm Jumeirah’s Monorail, the tram system facilitates travel between the densely populated areas of Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Residence and Al Sufouh. 

October also saw the completion of the 14-kilometre-long Jumeirah Corniche featuring a walkway and jogging track running from Dubai Marine Beach Resort to Burj Al Arab. Further inland, work is underway on Sheikh Zayed Road to accommodate the multi-billion-dirham Dubai Canal Project, connecting Business Bay to the Arabian Gulf. Set to open in 2017, the canal will see all 12 lanes of Sheikh Zayed Road elevated by a bridge. 

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