When Al Maktoum International Airport is finished, it's expected to be the biggest hub in the world—and it began seeing commercial passengers yesterday. Cargo flights have been operating at the airport since 2010, but that completion date likely won't occur until 2027, a roughly 10-year delay spawned by the area's financial crisis. Located in Jebel Ali, the Dubai government-owned airport is expect to cost around $33 billion to construct. And the government has big hopes for it, as made plain by its airport code: DWC, for Dubai World Central.
The first commercial plane to arrive was Hungary's Wizz Air; Gulf Air, from Bahrain, also touched down at the airport yesterday. Al Maktoum is set to have five runways, though just one is currently operating, and only three carriers have signed up so far (Jazeera Airways is the third). Just 100 passengers were on the Wizz Air flight, the AP notes, but the airport will eventually be able to handle 160 million passengers each year. Some 63% of them will be in transit, says the CEO of Dubai Airports, the site's operator. Last year, the leading busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, saw 95 million passengers. Al Maktoum will also deal with 12 million tons of cargo per year, CNN reports.