Dubai is building what is expected to become the world’s largest airport. Although not scheduled to be completed until 2027, Al-Maktoum International Airport received its first commercial passenger flight this weekend (via Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air). Its goal is to operate five runways with an annual capacity of 160 million passengers. (Nearby Dubai International Airport sees 57.7 million; and the world’s current busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, serviced 95 million passengers in 2012.) Note: The airport is named after the Al Maktoum family dynasty which has ruled Dubai since 1833.
Yet there’s no need to feel shortchanged if you fly in or out of “the old” Dubai International Airport (originally built in 1960). You can get rich at the Duty Free! It’s the biggest single airport retail operation in the world (so far) with annual sales of Dhs5.9 billion (US$1.6 billion). To emphasize its luxury perch and take advantage of its big numbers, the airport shop raffles off gold coins and luxury cars (BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Aston Martin) to game passersby. And if you’re feeling really lucky at DBX, you can buy one of 5,000 tickets (US$272 each) to enter to win US$1 million. Obviously, by the time it overtakes its rival the Duty Free at new Al-Maktoum will be giving away $2million–probably in Bitcoin.