Dubai International Airport is working to increase capacity to help accommodate more of the Airbus SAS A380 superjumbos for Emirates, the largest operator of the double-decker jet, the airline’s chairman said. The expansion may help the Middle Eastern hub become the word’s busiest airport by next year, Emirates Chairman Sheikh Ahmad bin Saeed al-Maktoum said Wednesday.
“We are going according to plan to accommodate all A380s,” he said in Dubai. “Hopefully within one year from now we would be No. 1.”
Dubai International Airport boosted traffic to about 57.7 million passengers in 2012, putting it on a path to match London Heathrow by the end of 2013. The airport opened a concourse this year dedicated specifically for the A380 double-decker, of which Emirates has ordered 90 units in total.
To fund delivery of aircraft in the financial year starting April 2014, Emirates has said it will need $4.5 billion, and may consider issuing bonds or sukuk as one option to raise some of that money depending on the market conditions.
“Whenever the market is good, when we need to go to the market we will go,” Sheikh Ahmad said. “It’s not desperate times, but if it’s the right time, why not?”
Emirates, which introduced an executive jet service last month with an Airbus A319, will decide after a year if it needs more aircraft for this segment of the business, he said, calling it an “experiment program.”
Sheikh Ahmad said the Boeing 777X was an “excellent aircraft, though given that it may only come as late as 2020, Emirates “always leave the door open for both options: Airbus and Boeing.’
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 06, 2013, on page 5.