Dubai world’s third busiest airport now
Dubai International airport has become the world’s third busiest airport for international passengers on strong 13.2 per cent annual growth in passenger traffic in 2012, its operator said on Monday.
The passenger traffic surged to nearly 58 million last year and the airport is expected to cross 65 million passengers’ mark in 2013, according to Dubai Airports chief executive officer Paul Griffiths.
“Moving into the top three is a fantastic achievement for Dubai International and we now have London’s Heathrow and the number one spot firmly within our sights,” Griffiths added.
London Heathrow ranked top with passenger numbers of 70 million in 2012 and Paris’s Charles de Gaulle ranked second with 61.6 million passengers in the same year. Hong Kong International Airport stood at fourth position with 56.5 million passengers.
Accordingly to a senior aviation analyst the Dubai airport is all set to overtake London Heathrow and become the world’s top airport for international passengers in a couple of years.
“… With annual growth topping 13 per cent year-on-year in contrast to the single figure growth at Heathrow, the airport will probably get close to 70 million passengers this year, topping their 65 million passenger forecast,” said Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at London-based StrategicAero Research, told Khaleej Times.
Dubai Airport climbed fast to become third busiest airport for international traffic in 2012 as it was at number 10 in 2010 with nearly 28 million passengers.
“With the summer period soon to get underway, Dubai International Airport’s recent expansion programme, coupled with the new concourse opening places it in good stead to capture yet more growth going forward,” Ahmad added.
India remained Dubai International’s single biggest country destination in terms of passenger numbers. The passenger traffic between Dubai and India continued to show robust growth during the past year, with total passenger traffic rising 7.4 per cent year on year to 7.34 million passengers in 2012.
Traffic was bolstered by the introduction of Spicejet, which added new flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi and Ahmedabad to Dubai. Air India Express, Indigo and Emirates also added new flights and destinations during the year.
“The opening of Concourse A, the world’s first purpose-built A380 facility, has given us the room to maintain our strong growth into the new year, with a forecast of 65.4 million passengers in 2013,” said Griffiths.
Regionally, South America was the fastest expanding market in terms of percentage growth in 2012 due to the introduction of Emirates flights to Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. The Russia & CIS region followed in second place, Australasia in third spot and GCC fourth.
New Emirates flights to Washington, Dallas Fort Worth and Seattle during the year saw North American passenger traffic grow 18.6 per cent, making it the fifth fastest growing region.
“… Our rapid growth is not without its challenges and we will use the breathing room created by the phased opening of Concourse A to stress test every aspect of our service in the next year and put in place long-term processes that will put Dubai International on track to becoming the best airport in the world in addition to being the busiest,” said Griffiths.
Aircraft movements for 2012 reached 344,245 movements, up 5.5 per cent from the 326,318 movements recorded in 2011.
The year-end numbers were bolstered by a record 5.3 million passengers in December 2012, 13.4 per cent higher than the 4.69 million passengers recorded in December 2011 and the second month in Dubai International’s 52-year history that passenger traffic has exceeded 5 million passengers.
Freight volumes rebounded towards the end of last year, helping total volumes for 2012 rise 3.9 per cent to 2.28 million tonnes from 2.19 million tonnes recorded in 2011. In December, cargo volumes climbed 6.5 per cent from 189,593 tonnes in December 2011 to 201,949 tonnes in December 2012.