Dubai Plans Airport So Big It Will Be Its Own City

The boom city of Dubai is building the world's largest airport and recently celebrated its first commercial flight. When finished, Al Maktoum International will be able to move 160 million passengers and 12 million tons of cargo a year. And the airport will be more than just a place for planes to land — it will be its own city.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK. The United Arab Emirates is about to take a big leap forward in its plan for regional economic domination. No, the plan is not to host another "Sex and the City" sequel, or install more vending machines that dispense gold.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The details are a bit more lofty - and today's last word in business is: up in the air. The boom city of Dubai is building the world's largest airport and it recently celebrated its first commercial flight.

INSKEEP: The old airport was pretty nice, but when finished, the new Al Maktoum International Airport will be able to move, we're told, 160 million passengers - that's close to the population of Brazil - and 12 million tons of cargo per year. And the airport will be more than just a place for planes to land - it will be its own city.

MONTAGNE: The airport is the centerpiece of the ginormous commercial hub known as Dubai World Center. It's surrounded by 87 square miles of housing, shopping and services all designed to make this airport work.

INSKEEP: Plenty of room to make horrible sequels to American movies, if desired, although the point of the new airport is to make Dubai an even grander center of global commerce.

And that's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne.

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