According to Arabian newspapers, Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths says the group plans to replace Dubai International with a more extensive facility.

Dubai Airports plans to replace the world’s busiest airport, Dubai International (DXB), with an even bigger one as demand for passengers grows exponentially, its chief executive officer Paul Griffiths said on Wednesday during the ongoing Dubai Airshow 2023.

“Once we’ve reached about 120 million passengers a year — which is what we think our total capacity at DXB (Dubai International) is, at the absolute maximum, with everything optimised — then we are going to need a new airport. That will have to happen during the 2030s,” Paul Griffiths told AFP.

Dubai Airports has projected that DXB’s annual passenger traffic will reach 86.8 million by the end of the year, surpassing 2019 numbers, as record-breaking figures were expected to continue through the final quarter of 2023.

Currently, the DXB could manage up to 100 million passengers annually, but with innovative technologies, refurbishments, and more efficient use of space and resources, its capacity could reach 120 million.

Paul Griffiths revealed they would work on the mega-airport’s design elements over the next few months: “It stands to reason that Al Maktoum International has to be even bigger and even better (than Dubai International) … This project will extend way into the 2050s because we take the long-term view here.”

“We always knew that when the pandemic struck, there’d be an equal and strong recovery because people under lockdown for two years were denied the ability to travel. And that’s why we’ve bounced back so quickly,” he told AFP.

He did not disclose details on the price tag or capacity target for the new airport, however, but elaborated that the new airport would be designed modular rather than based around fixed terminals, making it easier to expand over time: “We are not planning an airport that has terminals. We’re going to change the business model for airports completely, make them far more intimate and eliminate all the legacy processes we’ve had to subject our customers to for far too long.”