An Ariel view of Under Construction Dubai International Airport in 1959
Construction of the airport was ordered by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, in 1959. It officially opened in 1960 with its first airfield, at which time it was able to handle aircraft the size of a Douglas DC-3 on a 1,800 m (5,906 ft) long runway made of compacted sand. Three turning-areas, an apron and small terminal completed the airport that was constructed by Costain.
In May 1963 construction of a 9,200 ft (2,804 m) asphalt runway started. This new runway, alongside the original sand runway and taxiway opened in May 1965, together with several new extensions were added to the Terminal Building, hangars erected, Airport and Navigational aids were installed. The installation of the lighting system continued after official opening and was completed in August of that year. During the second half of the 1960s several extensions, equipment upgrades like a VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) and an instrument landing system (ILS) as well as new buildings were constructed. By 1969, the airport was served by 9 airlines serving some 20 destinations.
The inauguration was on 15 May 1966 and was marked by the visits of the first big jets of Middle East Airlines and Kuwait Airways Comets.