DWC Airport Makes Dubai Owner Of World's Largest Aviation Hub The distinction of having the largest commercial aviation hub in the world belongs to Dubai. And the subject of this special honor is the Al Maktoum International Airport, which is known to be about ten times the combined size of the Dubai Cargo Village and the Dubai International Airport (the erstwhile biggest aviation hub in the Middle East). It is located in the port town of Jebel Ali. The Al Maktoum International Airport is named after Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai's former ruler. It stands impressively at the heart of the Dubai World Central; hence, its IATA-assigned code is DWC. In fact, DWC airport is the main feature of that commercial, logistics and residential complex. Annual cargo and passenger capacities are placed at 12 million tons and over 120 million, respectively. These figures easily dwarf those of the previous "bests" - Memphis International Airport (cargo) and Hartsfield- Jackson Atlanta International Airport (passenger). Just how large is DWC airport? To give you an idea, it is designed to allow four aircraft to land simultaneously, round the clock. It has 5 parallel runways, each of which is 4.5 km, or 2.8 mi, in length. The runways are each separated by a distance of 800 m, or 2,600 ft. The first runway to have been completed already cost 1 billion dirham (AED 1bn). Actually, the original plan was for DWC airport to have six runways, three on one side and the other three on the opposite side. For some reason, that plan was revised. The DWC airport control tower, which boasts the latest in avionics and navigational technology, is 91 m high, making it the tallest in all of the Middle East. Its cost is AED 143mn. Other available data mention the costs of the fuel farms and the aprons/taxiways at AED 108mn and AED 908mn, respectively. The 12-million-ton cargo volume mentioned earlier will be handled at the airport's 16 cargo terminals. The passengers, on the other hand, will be served in its 3 passenger terminals, one of which is dedicated to the Emirates Airline. Perhaps the best feature of DWC airport is its capability of handling all types of new-generation aircraft, the Airbus A380 Superjumbo included. In fact, it is forecast to be the world's most Superjumbo-friendly airport because its hard-stand aero bridge gates are specifically designed to accommodate the massive aircraft. Other features and facilities of DWC airport include Executive and Royal jet centers, multiple concourses, shopping malls, hotels, a trade and exhibition facility, and even a golf course. It has more than 100,000 parking spaces for the convenience of the airport's own employees, tourists, and the residents of Dubai. The plan is for DWC airport to be connected to the Dubai International Airport (IATA code DXB) by means of a high-speed express rail system. Once this is completed, it will take much of the load off DXB. It is estimated that the total cost to complete the entire DWC airport complex will reach 82 billion US dollars (USD 82bn). DWC airport is expected to be fully operational by the year 2017.
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