Dubai's Al-Maktoum Airport opens for freight operations

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Dubai's new Al-Maktoum International Airport has formally opened for freight operations, with initial services from operators Rus Aviation, Skyline and Aerospace Consortium.

It follows tests last week conducted by Emirates SkyCargo.

Several other charter companies and freight carriers have agreed to serve Al-Maktoum, says operator Dubai Airports, including Iran's Aban Air, Coyne Airways, and Sonic Jet.

The airport, part of the Dubai World Central infrastructure programme, has a single runway - although its operator plans to expand to five - plus passenger and cargo terminals.

"Although it is a long-term project, the need for a second airport in the near to mid-term is clear," says Dubai Airports chief Paul Griffiths.

He says the main airport, Dubai International, has capacity for 2.5 million tonnes of cargo but volume is forecast to rise to 3 million tonnes by 2015.

Griffiths adds that passenger numbers are similarly expected to increase strongly, more than doubling to 98 million by 2020.

Dubai Airports chairman Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum says the opening of the airport is a "proud day for Dubai and an auspicious occasion for the future of global aviation".