Expansion would increase Dubai airport’s size by 21 square miles

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A $32 billion plan to expand Dubai International Airport was endorsed by the emirate’s ruler, airport authorities said Monday.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum signed off on a two-phase plan that would expand the airport’s passenger capacity to more than 200 million passengers a year.

The plan’s first phase, which will take between six and eight years to build, would allow the airport to handle as many as 100 Airbus A380 aircraft at a time. Combined, both phases will expand the airport’s size by about 21 square miles.

The announcement was made less than two months after Dubai announced plans to build a domed, climate-controlled city more than twice the size of Monaco.

Mall of the World, which would be developed by the emirate’s Dubai Holdings, would include 100 hotels totaling about 20,000 rooms, a 3 million-square-foot “wellness district” and a cultural center with sections modeled after New York’s Broadway, Barcelona’s La Rambla and London’s Oxford Street.

The airport expansion is also part of Dubai’s plan to grow as a global tourist destination.

Earlier this year, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing said it aimed to almost double its annual tourism visits to 20 million and double its hotel room inventory to 160,000 by 2020, the year Dubai will become the first Middle East locale to host the World Expo in that institution’s 163-year history.
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Follow Danny King on Twitter @dktravelweekly.

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