Dubai International Airport (DIA) is set to become world’s second busiest international airport within the next few months, according to forecasts by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA).
The airport, which is currently the world’s fourth busiest in terms of passenger traffic, will overtake Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Paris Charles de Gaulle, to take second place – behind Heathrow by November this year, according to CAPA.
Heathrow Airport carried 28.4 million passengers in 2011, with a 9.9% growth year on year, according to Airports Council International.
CAPA attributed the growth to an upswing in seasonal flights from Gulf carriers, and the increasing numbers of passengers choosing to connect between Europe and Asia via Dubai.
Traffic at DIA - which was named the Middle East’s Leading Airport at the 2010 World Travel Awards - has climbed by 9% to 29.3 million passengers.
In order to support the sector’s impressive growth, DIA is embarking on a US$7.8 billion expansion plan which will increase the capacity from 60 million to 90 million passengers per year, as well as upgrading its terminals - allowing Dubai to challenge for a place at the very top of the international arrivals league.
It responds to a ten year traffic forecast for Dubai International (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC) that projects international passenger and cargo traffic will increase at an average annual growth rate of 7.2 per cent and 6.7 per cent respectively.
“The combination of rallying tourism, Dubai’s proximity to the emerging economies of India and China, and the emirates’ established role as a trading hub, is together expected to drive traffic growth and further elevate Dubai’s status as a global centre for aviation,” said HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Airports.
The strategy includes aggressive expansion plans for airspace, airfield, aircraft stands and terminal areas at Dubai International over the remainder of the decade which will optimise investment, deliver timely capacity and create a robust revenue stream, fuelled by increased commercial and retail income, which will fund the development of Dubai World Central in the long term.
Expansion in the air
Within the local airport environment, airspace expansion plans focus on optimising runway capacity and implementing efficient systems and processes in order to accommodate and manage additional aircraft movements.
Beyond the vicinity of the airport itself, Dubai Airports is engaging national and regional civil aviation authorities and air navigation service providers to ensure that air routes are decongested,
bottlenecks are reduced and latent airspace capacity is unlocked.
Next generation technology such as performance based navigation and dynamic airspace management will be deployed over the coming years to harness the capabilities of modern fleets and increase airspace capacity.
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