According to the Handelsblatt, Dubai's brand new airport will open for business in June 2010. It will boast five runways and a passenger capacity of 160 m passengers.
For comparison: The world's biggest airport is currently Atlanta with roughly 90 m passengers. Dubai's old airport handled 37.4 m passengers in 2008.
Oh, and they don't want to shut the old airport down. No, they are expanding that one as well to a capacity of 80 m passengers by 2013. So Dubai's two airports will then be able to handle 240 m passengers.
I don't doubt that the Middle East has growth potential. The demographics support it, and the oil reserves also support it. And even now, in spite of Dubai's current crisis, passenger throughput doesn't decline: It rose 2 % yoy in Q1 2009.
But come on: Growth from 37 m passengers in 2008 to 240 m passengers in 5-10 years?
For once, China's plans seem downright modest in comparison.
IMHO, it's madness, pure and simple.
By the way, the investment volumes are quoted as 32 bn US$ for the new airport, and 4.2 bn US$ for expansion of the old airport.