After decades as the world’s busiest airport that distinction now goes to Dubai International.
According to a new Dubai Airports, the rival airport’s passenger numbers skipped up 6.1 per cent to 70.5m in 2014, it said in a statement today. This pushed it ahead of Heathrow which attracted 68.09m such travellers in 2014.
“This historic milestone is the culmination of over five decades of double-digit average growth that were inspired by the vision of the late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. It is a vision that has been carried forward strongly by our leader HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai,” said HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports. “The shared goal is to make Dubai a global centre of aviation and we are nearing that goal thanks to an open skies policy, a friendly business environment, Dubai’s growing attractiveness as a centre for trade, commerce and tourism, growing network connectivity due to the rapid expansion of Emirates and flydubai and timely investment in aviation infrastructure.”
Dubai’s growth has been fuelled by the airports’ drive to position itself as a gateway between the Asia and Europe, as well as the success of its flag carrier Emirates which is now the world’s biggest international airline.
“Britain has benefited from being home to the world’s largest port or airport for the last 350 years,” a Heathrow spokesman said. “But lack of capacity … means we have inevitably lost our crown to Dubai.”
“This highlights the pressing need to get on and expand our own hub, Heathrow, so that we can connect the whole of the UK to global growth,” they said.
“Much like 2014, 2015 promises to be another eventful year featuring more record passenger numbers and facility upgrades including the opening of Concourse D which will boost Dubai International’s capacity to 90 million,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports. “Today we are also releasing our projections for 2015 traffic at Dubai International which forecast 79 million passengers. We will have more flights connecting more people to more destinations. And we will be fully focussed on rolling out technology, new F&B concepts and service initiatives that further enhance the passenger experience.”