Emirates is building a freight terminal to serve as the future base of its SkyCargo division at Dubai's Al Maktoum International airport.
The Gulf carrier plans to move its cargo operations to the Dubai World Central hub in May 2014, when services are set to start at the first section of the facility.
Foundation works have begun at the site, with the first building phase due to be completed in December. This will be followed by the installation of the cargo-handling system and other interior fittings. The overall facility is to be completed in September 2014.
The terminal will have eight aircraft stands and 46 truck-loading stations, plus parking space for another 80 goods vehicles. It will have an initial capacity of 700,000t a year and feature a dedicated, temperature-controlled area for pharmaceutical products.
While Emirates is transferring to Al Maktoum airport its freighter fleet - comprising eight Boeing 777Fs and two 747-400ERFs - the carrier is also expanding its cargo facilities at the passenger airline's Dubai International base.
Emirates operates there a cargo terminal with an annual capacity of 1.2 million tonnes. As much of that freight is transported as belly cargo in passenger aircraft, trucks will be employed to shuttle between Dubai International and Al Maktoum airports.
The new cargo terminal will "increase capacity and enable us to meet our long-term objectives," says Nabil Sultan, senior vice-president for the air freight division.