Dubai International expects to become the world’s busiest within this decade, overtaking Beijing and Atlanta, spurred on by the expansion of Emirates airline.
The airport, which overtook London Heathrow in 2014, sees passenger traffic climbing to 83 million this year from 78m last year and expects 90m people using the facility next year, Paul Griffiths, the chief executive officer of Dubai Airports, told Bloomberg TV in an interview.
“The growth rates that we are experiencing are more than double what is being experienced by both Beijing and Atlanta,” Mr Griffiths said. “Within perhaps this decade, we should see ourselves exceeding the total traffic through those airports for the number 1 absolute spots.
Dubai, already the world’s busiest airport by international traffic, added 7.5m passengers last year.
India remains top destination
India remained the top destination country with 924,256 passengers, followed by the UK (584,508 passengers) and Saudi Arabia (535,280 passengers).
Eastern Europe was the fastest-expanding market in terms of percentage growth (67.9 per cent), followed by Asia (13 per cent), South America (11.7 per cent), and the Indian subcontinent (11.7 per cent).
Dubai airport, which faced a more than five-hour shutdown in August following the crash-landing of an Emirates jet, said the incident didn’t affect its annual traffic target. The country’s civil aviation regulator is continuing with the investigation and has released an interim report.
The seasonal rush of travellers, in particular UAE residents returning for the start of the academic year, boosted the traffic leading to a bumper month, the airport operator said.
While Atlanta Hartfield-Jackson, the main hub for Delta Airlines, remains the busiest in the world, it only processed 5.3m additional passengers for a total of 101.5m. Beijing airport added 3.8m to reach 89.9m.