Dubai Airport vaults to third busiest in the world
- United Arab Emirates: Tuesday, January 29 - 2013 at 10:46
Boosted by a record number of passengers in December, Dubai International has taken over as the world's third ranked airport for international passenger numbers, according to estimates by the airport.
The year-end tally pushed Dubai ahead of Hong Kong for third place in the world's airport rankings.
Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, said it is now aiming to knock London's Heathrow off its perch as the world's largest airport. Aviation experts including Willie Walsh, head of British Airways' parent company, International Airlines Group, have said London's airport hub could be overtaken by Emirates by 2015.
Heathrow is quickly closing in on its capacity of 68 million passengers a year, while Dubai International is expected to accommodate 90 million people per year by 2018.
"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 said. "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."
"However, 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," he added.
The year-end numbers were bolstered by a record 5,320,961 passengers in December 2012, 13.4% higher than the 4,690,726 passengers recorded in December 2011 - and it was the second month in Dubai International's 52-year history that passenger traffic exceeded five million passengers.
Aircraft movements for 2012 reached 344,245 movements, up 5.5% from the 326,318 movements recorded in 2011.
South America was the fastest expanding market last year, due to the introduction of Emirates' flights to Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, followed by Russia and the CIS region, Australasia and GCC.
New Emirates flights to Washington, Dallas Fort Worth and Seattle during the year saw North American passenger traffic grow 18.6%, making it the fifth fastest-growing region.
India remained Dubai International's single biggest country destination in terms of passenger numbers, with total passenger traffic rising 7.4% year on year to 7.34 million passengers.
Traffic was also 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.
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