ATM 2011: Dubai set to become world’s busiest airport by 2015

4th May 2011
ATM 2011: Dubai set to become world’s busiest airport by 2015

Dubai Airports says that its traffic forecast for Dubai International (DXB) and Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International (DWC) will increase rapidly over the next decade, making it the world’s busiest airport by 2015. Growth will increase at an average annual growth rate of 7.2% for international passengers and 6.7% for cargo, outperforming industry projections for average annual growth of 5% globally.

By 2020 passenger numbers will reach 98.5 million and cargo volumes will top 4.1 million tonnes.

Meanwhile Dubai International Airport, Terminal 3 was voted “Middle East’s Leading Airport” at 2011 World Travel Awards hosted this week at the Armani Hotel Dubai.

Pace-setting growth has been the norm at Dubai International. Over the past 50 years, passenger traffic has increased at an average annual rate of 15.5%. More recently during the economic downturn in 2009, while other airports saw traffic decline, Dubai Airports saw international passenger numbers increase 9.1% demonstrating the resilience of Dubai’s aviation sector in challenging market conditions.  Since 2005 traffic has almost doubled from 24.8 million to 47.2 million last year.

“Increased liberalisation, GDP growth and increasingly affluent and mobile populations in emerging markets will combine to propel air travel growth worldwide,” said Paul Griffiths, Dubai Airports CEO.

“Dubai is extremely well positioned to capitalise on that growth. We are eight hours from two-thirds of the world’s population and on the doorstep of two of the most dynamic markets in the world – India and China. The combination of rallying tourism and Dubai’s established role as a trading hub linking economies in the Far East, Europe, Africa and North America, are also key advantages.”


Dubai’s two largest airlines, Emirates and flydubai, have already placed significant aircraft orders to meet the expected demand.

Similarly, bolstered by expanded trade and commerce, airfreight volumes will almost double from the 2.27 million tonnes recorded in 2010 to 4.1 million tonnes in 2020 based on a 6.7% annual growth rate.  Whilst much of the growth is driven by additional belly capacity in the passenger fleets flying into Dubai, the forecast also suggests a significant increase in freighter capacity.

Dubai International is ranked 4th globally in terms of international freight volumes and 4th for international passengers according to Airport Council International’s (ACI) 2010 figures. That ranking is set to change dramatically over the next several years.

“Based on the current pace of growth we are seeing in other large international airports, Dubai International should become the busiest airport in the world for international passenger traffic as early as 2015 when passenger numbers are projected to exceed 75 million,” added Griffiths.

To help accommodate the growth, Concourse 3, which will be the world’s first dedicated A380 facility, is set to open at the end of 2012. Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International, which opened for cargo operations in 2010, will commence passenger services during 2012.


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