By Andy Sambidge www.arabianbusiness.com
Dubai International Airport will surpass London Heathrow for passenger numbers and become the world’s busiest by 2015, a senior Dubai Airports official said on Tuesday.
“Passenger volumes are on course to top 51 million by year end which should put us hot on the trail of Hong Kong International as the world’s third busiest airport for international passenger traffic,” he added.
His comments came as passenger numbers at Dubai International Airport rose by nearly nine percent in May, compared to the same month in 2010.
Traffic figures released by Dubai Airports showed passenger numbers topped 3.97 million, up 325,000 or 8.8 percent.
However, Middle East passenger traffic, still suffering from political instability in the region, fell 5.6 percent in May.
Total traffic stands at 20.5 million so far in 2011, an increase of 8.6 percent over the corresponding period in 2010, it added in a statement.
Aircraft movements for the month totalled 26,969 up 4.6 percent from 25,790 recorded during May last year.
The GCC recorded the largest increase in total passenger numbers in May as they rose 28.3 percent (139,717 passengers).
The second largest contingent was seen from the Indian subcontinent, followed by Western Europe and Asia Pacific.
In terms of percentage growth, Eastern Europe led the way in May rising 381 percent, albeit from a low base.
Russia and CIS benefited from flydubai’s ongoing expansion into that region with traffic increasing 20.6 percent on the back of traffic growth to Moscow, Kiev, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
Traffic volumes to North America showed a 17.7 percent rise due to Emirates’ doubling its frequencies to Houston and Los Angeles from once to twice daily.
In terms of cargo volumes Dubai International handled 187,905 tonnes of international air freight in May, down 0.5 percent from the 188,837 tonnes recorded during the same period in 2010.