Dubai: The world’s largest VIP terminal was officially opened at Al Maktoum International at Dubai South on Monday. Inaugurated by Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, the 5,600-square meter standalone facility is intended to exclusively cater to private, business and government VIP travelers.
The first flight from the VIP terminal took place in April 2016, carrying 13 passengers on an Embraer Legacy aircraft that was headed to the Maldives. Since then, the terminal has witnessed 1,000 flight movements with the number anticipated to grow to 4,000 movements in 2017.
It is the largest of its kind in the world, hosting two Fixed Base Operators (FBOs), JetEx and Falcon Aviation, according to Khalifa Al Zaffin, Chairman of Dubai Aviation City.
Speaking to Gulf News, he seemed unconcerned at the isolated nature of the terminal, saying “other VIP terminals have capacity constraints on their movements. This is the largest VIP terminal in the world, in terms of size, so there is no competition. VIPs will have to come here.”
Dubai Aviation City is the zone encompassing Al Maktoum International, and a number of new specialised free zones, focusing on logistics, aviation and cargo.
The terminal is part of Al Maktoum International, the planned largest airport in the world, which will involve the construction of five runways and increase in capacity to handle 160 million passengers a year once complete.
Speaking at the opening, Shaikh Ahmad said: “The launch of the VIP terminal at Dubai South’s Aviation District is yet another significant step towards realising Dubai’s vision of becoming the aviation capital of the world. With the opening of the world’s largest facility for private aviation, Dubai South has raised the bar on luxury travel.”
On a separate note, Al Zaffin declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding a Bloomberg report from December 15 that claimed Dubai would be investing $36.75 billion into Al Maktoum International, and the surrounding logistics hub, relying on debt for a significant part of the funding.
He noted that contractor funding was still preferred for recently awarded contracts, although they were still exploring export credit funding as an option.
Al Zaffin previously mentioned that the benefits of different funding methods were being weighed up in Deloitte’s GCC Powers of Construction 2016 report, released earlier this year.
It was reported last month that Dubai had hired HSBC to advise it on borrowing $3 billion to finance the expansion of its two airports.
The new VIP terminal features a luxury shopping area, which includes items from “the arts and culture with paintings, sculptures and priceless artefacts, to cars, watches, real estate, and super bikes.” It also includes areas for taking naps, playing pool, and dining.
The facility is located in the Aviation District, which will become the new permanent home of the Dubai Airshow.