Dubai carrier Emirates will move to its new home at Al Maktoum International Airport by 2034, the airline’s Chairman and Chief Executive confirmed on Tuesday.

“We have an existing terminal that has capacity for 35 million passengers and, as of next year, flydubai will also increase operations out of the existing terminal. When we talk about an airport that has a capacity of 260 million passengers, it needs at least 8 to 10 years of construction. We are going from one to five runways. That will take some time. That will give the airport time to open without putting constraints on existing traffic,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said.

Last month, Dubai announced that construction had started on the new $35 billion Al Maktoum International Airport terminal, which will be the world’s largest, with a capacity for 260 million passengers upon completion.

However, the Emirates chief refused to commit to a possible IPO, although Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways has reportedly been tapping banks according to last week’s Bloomberg report.

“But when it comes to financing, any project that we are a part of will draw attention from a lot of companies, and government authorities that will be keen on financing the project… I am not worried. We will always find a way to finance.”

While speaking at the Arabian Travel Market at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Ahmed also said that the recent Dubai rains had resulted in a financial impact on the airline.

“I won’t talk numbers, but the recent rains cost us a lot. We needed to park 260 aircraft with 160 gates, putting up 26,000 people in hotels in Dubai. And I think we were exceptionally hit hard on the baggage side,” Sheikh Ahmed revealed.

With an order book of 200 aircraft to be delivered by the end of 2029, Sheikh Ahmed also said he was “not happy” with the 777x delays.

“The [Boeing’s] management has said it will put in a lot of effort to fix Boeing deliveries and the 777x delays. I have met with the management, and they said they are doing best to fix it. But until I see certification announced, I will not say much,” Sheikh Ahmed added.

The airline head said delivery was expected by the first quarter of 2025, adding: “We are in communication with Boeing to be able to determine a date. It puts a lot of pressure on the current Emirates seat capacity, which is why we announced our plans to retrofit 71 planes,” alluding to Tuesday’s announcement that the airline would be completely refurbishing another 43 A380s and 28 Boeing 777 aircraft, expanding its retrofit programme to 191 aircraft from the original 120.”

(Reporting by Bindu Rai, editing by Seban Scaria)