Dubai International handles 88.2m passengers in 2017, retains top rank

The airport is world's busiest for the fourth consecutive year

Dubai international airport welcomed more than 88 million passengers in the 12 month to the end of May. AP Photo
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Dubai International Airport is the busiest international airport measured by total passengers for the fourth consecutive year, as it welcomed six new carriers in 2017.

Dubai International served 88.2 million passengers last year, an increase of 5.5 per cent from 2016, Dubai Airports said in a statement. Traffic in 2018 is forecast to grow 2.4 per cent to 90.3 million.

“It was a very successful year for DXB... we made passenger journeys through the facility smoother by reducing waiting times – by deploying cutting-edge technology to track and manage queues in real time, as well as by enabling the use of Emirates ID at smart gates for UAE residents," said Paul Griffiths, chief executive officer of Dubai Airports.

Dubai International has benefited from the expansion of routes from Emirates, the world’s largest operator of wide-body aircraft, and its sister company flydubai. The easing of visa regulations for Chinese and Russian visitors has also helped increase traffic at the airport.

“With passenger traffic is expected to reach 90.3 million in 2018, our focus in the new year will be on the DXB Plus programme which aims to expand the airport’s annual capacity to 118 million passengers through process improvements and use of new technology,” added Mr Griffiths.


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India retained its position as the largest source market for passengers at Dubai International, with a 5.4 per cent increase in passenger numbers to 12 million. The United Kingdom overtook Saudi Arabia to rise to second spot with 6.4 million passengers, up by 6.7 per cent from 2016, while Saudi visitor numbers rose 4.6 per cent to 6.3 million.

The number of passengers from Russia climbed 28 per cent to 1.3 million, while visitors from China surged 19.4 per cent to 2.2 million thanks to the relaxation of visa restrictions. Passenger numbers from Thailand also soared 15.2 per cent to 2.4 million after Emirates expanded capacity to and from that destination.

London also held on to its position as the top destination city with 4 million passengers, followed by Mumbai with 2.4 million passengers and Jeddah with 2.1 million passengers.