DUBAI, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Dubai International will launch operations at its new $1.2 billion Concourse D on Wednesday, lifting annual passenger capacity to 90 million and allowing further airline growth, especially for flagship carrier Emirates.
Dubai International has been operating at near-capacity, constricting growth for hub airline Emirates.
Foreign carriers will shift to the new concourse, connected to the renovated Terminal 1 by a dedicated train, from Concourse C, which will be taken over by flagship carrier Emirates.
Annual traffic at Dubai International rose to 78 million passengers in 2015 from 70.5 million in 2014, helping it maintain its top spot at the world's largest airport. Dubai initially overtook London's Heathrow to become the world's busiest airport for international traffic in 2014.
Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports forecast 2016 passenger traffic at 85 million with the addition of the new concourse, according to a statement.
Many airlines have been reluctant to move to the new mega-airport project, Al Maktoum International, Dubai South, preferring to huddle around the hub carrier.
This has pushed the airport operator to expand capacity at its existing airport to create room for growth for its rapidly-expanding hub-carrier Emirates.
Concourse D will launch operations with flights from British Airways and Royal Jordanian on Wednesday, with the remainder carriers phasing in operations over the next several weeks, Dubai Airports said.
On the apron, Concourse D has 21 contact stands, of which four will be able to accommodate Airbus A380 or Boeing 747 aircraft, and 11 remote stands with a design capacity for 18 million passengers, the operator said.
(Reporting by Nadia Saleem; Editing by Kim Coghill) ((email@example.com; +97143664256; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))
Keywords: DUBAI AIRPORT CONCOURSE D/