For the last couple of years, it’s been a bit difficult to tell exactly how big Dubai World Central (DWC) had grown organically or how much Dubai International (DXB) had been diminished as the United Arab Emirates required carriers to move their cargo capacity from DXB to the newly-built DWC. The shift began in May 2014, when Dubai Airports, which operates both facilities, decided to transfer all freighter operations from DXB to DWC. While DXB continued to handle belly cargo, traffic figures for the facility, of course, fell off a cliff.
Then next twist came that same year, when DXB had to close one of its runways during a major overhaul and repair operation. To accommodate this limited capacity, DXB shifted about 300 weekly passenger flights from DXB to DWC, and removed even more freight traffic from DXB, this time in the form of bellyhold cargo.
Today, the picture is becoming clearer. For the first half of 2015, freight traffic at DWC shot up 42 percent, year-over-year, to 443,000 tonnes, thus reflecting the shift of freighters to DWC. However, when DXB and DWC figures are combined, the volume at both air hubs was up a more modest 10 percent, year-over-year, for the first half of 2015 to 1.68 million tonnes handled.
Eventually, DWC will become the dominant cargo airport, with its annual capacity of 16 million tonnes of airfreight once the grand plan is completed.