CHAIRMAN of Dubai's Roads & Transport Authority, Mattar Al-Tayer, announced the go-ahead for the 49 km Purple Line on May 23. A contract has been awarded to Parsons Brinckerhoff for initial design work on the express metro line, which will link the current international airport with the new Dubai International Airport City which is being built at Jebel Ali.

Costing an estimated 10bn dirham, the Purple Line will follow Al Khail Road, running further inland than the east-west Red Line which is currently under construction. There will be eight stations on the Purple Line, which is intended to provide an express service with an end-to-end journey time of around 40 min. Airline luggage check-in facilities for the two airports will be provided at three of the stops.

The nine-car driverless trains will be similar to those under construction for the 23 km Green and 52 km Red lines. Each train will have Gold and Silver class cars, with sections for women and children, and the Purple Line stock will include dedicated vehicles for checked baggage.

'The consultant will commence design works this month and complete them in May 2008' said Al-Tayera after signing the design contract with Stuart Wallace, Managing Director of Parsons Brinckerhoff Middle East. 'RTA will put the project out to tender for construction and select a contractor during the period from May 2008 to March 2009. The project will be constructed in 45 months starting from March 2009, and the service on the Purple Line is scheduled to start in December 2012.'