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World’s Highest Capacity Airport, Al-Maktoum International, Opens

What will become the world’s largest airport in terms of passenger capacity, opened for passenger operations this week in Dubai, UAE. Al-Maktoum International Airport, previously known as Jebel Ali and part of Dubai World Central, is now open for general aviation operations.
Officially open for cargo flights since June 27, 2010, the airport now accepts private jets and general aviation flights. Passenger flights are expected to commence at some point within the year.
The $62 billion project, the world’s single most expensive project ever, will include some remarkable features:

  • Five parallel runways, 2.8 miles in length, each separated by a distance of 2,600 ft.
  • Three passenger terminals, including two luxury facilities; one dedicated to airlines of The Emirates Group, the second to other carriers, and the third dedicated to low cost carriers.
  • Six mid-field concourses
  • 16 cargo terminals with a 12 million ton capacity
  • Executive and Royal jet centers
  • Hotels and shopping malls
  • A380-sized support and maintenance facilities
  • Over 100,000 parking spaces (the largest parking facility in the world)
  • High speed express rail system to Dubai International Airport
  • Dubai Metro and a dedicated Dubai World Central light railway

The size of Al-Maktoum is somewhat indescribable. For comparison, here is a list of annual airport passenger capacities around the world:



Passenger Capacity



120 million


Atlanta Hartsfield

90 million


London Heathrow

90 million


Hong Kong

87 million


Amsterdam Schiphol

85 million


Dallas-Ft. Worth

82 million



80 million


Shanghai Pudong

80 million


Beijing Capital

78 million


Los Angeles

78 million

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