By Nadia Saleem, Staff Reporter www.gulfnews.com
Dubai: Dubai International Airport (DIA) will surpass 50 million passengers this year at an annual growth rate of 11 per cent on the back of airlines entering new markets, officials said.
Paul Griffiths, chief executive of DIA, said the airport saw the launch of 22 new routes in the past year. Many of these were by airlines that started operating from the airport last year. They include Indonesian airline Garuda, Air Berlin, Kingfisher and China Eastern.
“All of our 130 airlines are posting strong growth figures, and of course growth from our [local] airlines such as Emirates and flydubai is significant. They’re taking on more aircraft and more routes, forming the backbone of our growth,” he told Gulf News.
The airport announced its full-year passenger numbers yesterday, hitting a record 47.2 million. Figures are up 15.3 per cent on 2009’s total of 40.9 million.
Cargo volumes also expanded, fast approaching maximum capacity as global trade continues to recover. Annual cargo traffic rose to 2.27 million tonnes — a 17.7 per cent rise over the 1.93 million tonnes recorded in 2009 — airport statistics showed.
“The growth witnessed is in line with Emirates’ expansion and that of flydubai. While there doesn’t seem to be anything on the horizon, which suggests a change of direction, Dubai International Airport traffic figures will steadily rise, particularly as Emirates draws in business from new markets thanks to its expansion and induction of A380s and 777-300ER jets,” said Saj Ahmad, an aerospace and airline analyst in London at FBE Aerospace.
To facilitate the airport’s growth, infrastructure investment continues even as the new Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International is being built.
Griffiths said that Concourse 3 is on track for completion by the end of next year, which will add capacity for 15 million passengers, taking DIA’s total ability to handle 75 million passengers.
“We’re looking forward to that opening, which will give us 20 gates for A380s and increase our service across the airport,” Griffiths said.