Dubai International takes off



Dubai’s main airport is growing beyond predictions, with a record year in 2010 showing over 47 million passengers passed through the terminal.

This was more than even the airport itself expected, with original figures suggesting that around 46 million would visit the main airport of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

These figures placed Dubai International as the fifth busiest airport in the world for international passenger traffic in 2010, and the fourth for cargo.

Thousands of Aussie travellers pass through the aviation hub every year.

The airport says it expects passenger flows to surge by another 11 per cent in 2011, taking the predicted figure up to 52 million.

More than 130 airlines land at Dubai International every year, with passengers able to travel to 220 different destinations across six continents.

In mid-2010, it opened a second international airport, Al Maktoum International, for cargo operations, and soon that will include passenger traffic.

The airport says it expects that Al Maktoum will eventually become the world’s largest airport, with an annual capacity of 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo.

“It was a year in which we celebrated many milestones,” Dubai Airport CEO Paul Griffiths said in a statement.

“We surpassed our growth projections, ushered in Dubai’s status as a twin-airport city with the opening of Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum International in June and celebrated Dubai International’s 50th anniversary.”

Dubai claims its unique approach to aviation, with an open-skies policy, competitive rates and a tax-free environment, is the key its success.