Dubai International Airport retains position as world’s busiest for international passenger traffic

The number of passengers reached a record 78,014,838 last year, compared to 70,473,893 recorded during 2014.

Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 as seen from the Emirates headquarters in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
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Dubai International kept its position as the world’s busiest airport for international passengers for the second year ­after traffic exceeded 78 million in 2015.

Aided by 100 airlines that connect the airport to 240 destinations around the world, airport traffic increased by 10.7 per cent last year over the 70.4 million recorded in 2014.

Passenger numbers reached 7.05 million in December alone, an increase of 8.5 per cent over the 6.4 million passengers that passed through the airport in August 2014. On average, monthly traffic for the year was at 6.5 million. But since August, the monthly traffic has exceeded the 7 million mark consecutively.

Last year, new airlines started flying to Dubai International, including Air Canada from Tor­onto, Eurowings from Amsterdam and China Southern from Wuhan. Additionally, about 12 new destinations were added by the airport's designated carrier Emirates and flydubai, its sister low-cost airline.

The airport is preparing to open its newest facility, the US$1.2 billion Concourse D, this quarter. "The facility will play a crucial role in helping us welcome millions of passengers," said Paul Griffiths, the chief executive of Dubai Airports.

However, Saj Ahmad, the chief analyst at StrategicAero Research, said: “There will of course be greater pressure to ensure that not only is there a smooth opening of the new concourse, but the wider UAE policmakers will have to weigh up opening of more military airspace for commercial usage.”

“It is this that will allow Dubai to truly unlock the growth pot­ential at Al Maktoum International Airport [Dubai’s new airport], particularly as the current airport looks primed to reach the 100 million passenger goal ahead of its target in 2020 based on current growth rates.”

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