The world’s largest international airline, Emirates, helped Dubai International Airport celebrate yet another year of record passenger traffic. The airport recorded 47.2 million people passing through in 2010, an increase on 2009 figures of 15.3 per cent. The boost in numbers is also indicative of the hubs popularity with international carriers who are attracted to its open skies policy, its low rates and its tax-free status.
At present, 133 airlines are listed as using the airport from Russian flag-carrier Aeroflot through to Air Zimbabwe. However, it is the behemoth that is Emirates which really makes the difference. In 2010, the airline added eight brand new Airbus A380 superjumbos to its fleet, the largest airliner on the planet. It also boosted capacity by taking delivery of three of Boeing’s long-range 777-300ERs.
Emirates also added five new destinations to its schedule and is currently showing no indication that it will be slowing its expansion. In mid-2009, flydubai was launched and has also been aggressively adding routes to its itinerary. Through last year it added an average of one new destination ever three weeks.
According to Dubai Airports’ chief executive, Paul Griffiths, there are no reasons for Dubai not to continue to grow its operations through 2011. He predicts that passenger numbers will increase by a further 11 per cent to more than 52 million.
The airport is planning to implement measures to handle the increase in numbers such as improve its infrastructure on the ground as well as better handle the management of its airspace.