Wednesday, 1 October 2014

DWC: Air travel reinvented

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Thinking big has never been a problem for the rulers of Dubai. Back in 2005, when fewer than 24 million passengers used Dubai International Airport (DXB), the emirate unveiled plans for a six-runway hub at Jebel Ali, southwest of the city, that could handle up to 120 million people each year. A sprawling complex called Dubai World Central (DWC) was to be developed around the airport, creating “the world’s first purpose-built aerotropolis”.

At the time, DXB did not even rank among the top ten busiest international gateways on the planet. Dubai’s vision of becoming the centrepiece of global aviation was ridiculed in some corners as a delusion fuelled by free-flowing cash and unbridled Gulf egos. For years to come, discussions about the project were tainted with accusations of building a “white elephant” in the desert.

Today, however, with DXB on the cusp of overtaking London Heathrow Airport as the largest international gateway anywhere in the world, the sceptics have fallen silent...