Price Tag for the World’s Largest Airport: $36 Billion


When a planned $32 billion expansion is completed, Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) will be the world’s largest.

The airport, named for the emirate’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, will eventually handle more than 200 million passengers a year, and be capable of accommodating 100 double-decker Airbus A380s at a time. For context, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, the world’s busiest airport, currently processes around 100 million passengers a year.

Not coincidentally, Dubai is home to Emirates, the aggressively expansion-minded Middle East carrier, which operates more A380s than any other airline.

The airport initiative complements Emirates’ ambitions to make Dubai a leading hub for air traffic from and to other regions. Currently more than half of Dubai passengers are making connections to other destinations, and that proportion is expected to increase.

The first phase of the expansion is expected to be in place by 2020, in time for the Dubai World Expo.

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and almost that long writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

This article first appeared on, where Tim is Editor-at-Large.

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