Breaking Travel News interview: Paul Griffiths, chief executive, Dubai Airports

Breaking Travel News interview: Paul Griffiths, chief executive, Dubai Airports

Dubai Airports recently announced figures showcasing another record breaking year, seeing Dubai International Airport holding firm as the busiest airport in the world for international passengers.

Following the announcement, Phil Blizzard spoke with Dubai Airports chief executive Paul Grififths for Breaking Travel News.

Breaking Travel News: Regarding the figures for 2015, which show a 10.7 per cent increase in passenger traffic, how do you feel about that from the perspective of you and your team?

Paul Griffiths: Well I think, first of all, that we set the target at the beginning of the year which we’ve pretty much hit the bull’s-eye on, so it’s very, very pleasing.

It’s good to know when you’ve got very accurate forecasting, and you can facilitate your business around that.

And of course, it’s not just the passenger numbers, but also the revenue we generated.

With the cost controls we put in place it’s all come together rather well.

We’ve got some pretty good results as a consequence of those things happening in perfect harmony.

I’m very pleased about that.

The good thing, as well, is that while we’ve been able to facilitate considerable increase in passenger numbers, we’ve also improved the service quality we’ve invested in.

We just put two and a half thousand new seats into the airport, so someone should be able to find a seat easily between their flights.

We’ve also improved the level of the food and beverage offered. 

BTN: Which airlines started using DXB during 2015?

PG: During the year DXB welcomed new airlines including Air Canada from Toronto, Eurowings from Cologne, and China Southern from Wuhan, among others.

A total of 12 new passenger destinations were also added thanks to the on-going network expansion of Dubai-based airlines flydubai and Emirates.

So I think it’s been a very good year and I just hope that during the course of 2016, we can keep this impetus going.

And our aim is still to be not just the biggest, but the best airport in the world.

BTN: It must be very hard keeping that impetus going. You’re up to 78 million passengers per year now, and how do you plan to maintain that growth?

PG: Well I think the good thing is the growth of the network and the increase in the average size of aircraft.

We get something like 207 passengers per movement, whereas Heathrow has about 160, so we use the airport very efficiently.

We’re 24/7 of course, which does help as well and we do have a very effective throughput, that’s the first thing.

The second thing, of course, is the facilities that we’ve opened over the last few years.

I think since I arrived in 2007, we’ve opened seven major facilities starting with terminal three, and that journey has continued; we’ve never really stood still.

And we’ve always got a number of significant projects in the pipeline which will continue to deliver improvements in capacity, improvements in process.

We’re investing a huge amount in new technology, renewing all the networks throughout the airports, and very soon, customers will start to see some greatly improved technology within the airport.

We’ve spent a lot of money upgrading our Wi-Fi, we’re going to put new way finding applications out there to guide people to the gates on time, and also some other commercial activities are being planned at the moment.

BTN: Final thing, talking about your analysis which was very accurate in 2015 what sort of growth are you expecting for this year?

PG: We’ve got an inspirational target of hitting slightly north of 89 Million.

Whether we’ll hit the magic 90 we don’t know.

But if we do get to that sort of order of growth that will be something like three to four years before we actually said it would happen.

The figure of 90 Million was the original 2010 plan for our 2020 aspiration.

To hit that target three years earlier I think will be a great achievement. So that’s what I hope.

More Information

Dubai International Airport was recognised as Middle East’s leading Airport in 2015 and is nominated for the title again this year.

To find out more about the location head over the official website.