Dubai International Airport could be the busiest airport in the world for international passenger traffic in just four years’ time, and the emirate’s two major airports will welcome close to 100 million flyers a year by 2020, according to the man in charge of Dubai’s travel hubs.
Dubai Airports chief executive Paul Griffiths also hit out at industry figures who credited the astronomical growth of the emirate’s aviation industry to unfair practices, instead chalking it up to the quick decision-making of its authorities. He revealed the sky-high growth forecasts at the Arabian Travel Market.
Griffiths predicted that by 2020 Dubai’s “dual airport strategy” – leveraging the newly operational Al Maktoum International Airport – will see it handle a huge 98.5 million passengers a year, with Dubai International notching up in excess of 75 million passengers by 2015, earning the crown of world’s busiest international hub.
Griffiths said Dubai International currently ranks fourth globally behind London Heathrow, Paris Charles De Gaulle and Hong Kong.
“We are hot on the heels of Hong Kong,” he said. “We project that we will probably be in that number one spot within four to five years.”
Griffiths justified his projections by pointing to the huge aircraft orders of Emirates and flydubai, and Dubai’s location within eight hours of two-thirds of the world’s population.
He came out swinging after international carriers accused Dubai Airports of offering UAE carriers preferential treatment to build bullish growth in passenger numbers which have almost doubled since 2005 to reach 47.2 million in 2010.
“They think that there are various other reasons for our success,” he said.
“But our success is because of this committed, focused leadership… Consider that it took us six years to conceive, design and construct Terminal Three, which is double the size of Heathrow Terminal Five, and [the latter] took 17 years.”