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A massive $7.8 billion expansion of Dubai International Airport has been approved to boost capacity from 60 million to 90 million passengers a year by 2018.

Additional terminal space twice the size of Heathrow’s Terminal 5, a new taxiway and a 60% increase in the number of aircraft stands are to be commissioned.

Passenger capacity is already due to rise to 75 million by the end of next year with the opening of a new concourse.

The development plans comes in response to a ten year traffic forecast for Dubai International and Dubai World Central which projects international passenger and cargo traffic will increase at 7.2% and 6.7% a year respectively.

Dubai Airports chairman Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum said:? “The combination of rallying tourism, Dubai’s proximity to the emerging economies of India and China, and the emirate's established role as a trading hub, is together expected to drive traffic growth and further elevate Dubai’s status as a global centre for aviation.

“By 2020, 98.5 million passengers and over four million tonnes of air freight will pass through our airports.

“The fleets and networks of Emirates and flydubai will grow considerably to accommodate traffic and capture market share. Similarly, our infrastructure must expand to enable this growth and facilitate the trade, tourism and commerce that in turn will support the prosperit