Dubai International set to become world’s 3rd biggest airport

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An aerial view of the Dubai International Airport in Dubai, UAE. Photo - Al Maktoum International Airport

Dubai International Airport could overtake Hong Kong International Airport to become the third largest aviation hub in the world this year, with an expected rise of 11% in annual passenger traffic. The busiest Middle Eastern airport handled around 51 million travellers and current stands as the fourth busiest in the world after London’s Heathrow, Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok Airport.

“With our growth this year, which will take us to 56.5m [passengers], about 11 percent growth, I think we will be hot on the heels of Hong Kong, we may even over take them,” Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, told Arabian Business in an interview.

“We may end up being the third largest airport in the world in terms of international passengers.”

The company hopes to achieve the long-term goal of increasing passenger traffic to 90m people by 2018 and making it the world’s largest airport in terms of yearly passenger volume. Plans are currently underway to include a third concourse, while the expansion of terminal two on the north end of the airport is in full-swing to accommodate the operations of flyDubai, Dubai’s budget airline.

“Concourse three is in the final stages of construction. We’ve probably got another nine months before an operational hand over can take place. That will boost our capacity to 75m, and give us 20 gates for the A380s. It will be quite a significant upgrade from what you saw when we opened concourse two in 2008.

“We’ve also got a concourse four in our plans,” he added. “The idea is that it will cater for all the non-Emirates international airlines on the south side of the air field. That will give us about 18 additional gates [and] allow concourse one to be used exclusively by Emirates.

“It is in the last stages of the initial design concept. 2015-2016 is what we’re targeting (for completion),” the CEO concluded.

Dubai Airports says it is focusing more on improving automation and adopting more efficient technologies like automated boarding pass scans, hi-tech screening systems and fool-proof security arrangements to facilitate passenger convenience.

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