Dubai International was yesterday confirmed as the world's second-busiest airport for international passenger traffic, overtaking Charles de Gaulle in Paris for the first time.
Since the start of the year, Dubai International has moved up two positions in the global rankings of the Airports Council International (ACI) monthly traffic report. It is now just behind London Heathrow as the world's busiest international airport by passenger throughput.
Dubai's passenger traffic for the first two months of the year has increased 13 per cent to 10,640,120, up from 9,413,286 for the same period a year ago.
"It is extremely gratifying to see Dubai International leap up two places in the international passenger rankings in a single year. It is a clear signal that more people are choosing Dubai as their preferred hub not only for its extensive global network but the superb facilities on the ground too," said Paul Griffiths, the Dubai Airports chief executive.
"Given our surging growth rate and London Heathrow's capacity constraints we are well placed to overtake them as the world's busiest airport for international traffic by 2015."
The figures come against ACI preliminary traffic results for 2012, based on reports from more than 1,093 airports worldwide, which indicate that global passenger traffic grew at a rate of 4 per cent while cargo and aircraft movements were flat compared with 2011.
"Global passenger traffic has remained resilient in the face of global uncertainties and downside risks that plagued the global economy throughout 2012," said the ACI.
"While airports in the developed economies of Europe and North America experienced only modest gains in passenger traffic, with year-over-year growth of 1.7 and 1.2 per cent respectively, air transport markets in emerging economies continue to show buoyant activity."
The figures for the last full year, show the top five international airports were London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Hong Kong, Dubai International and Amsterdam Schiphol.
As many as five airports in emerging markets with more than 40 million passengers reported double-digit growth rates. These airports include Istanbul, up 20.2 per cent, Dubai up 13.2per cent, Jakarta up 12.1 per cent, Bangkok up 10.6 per cent and Singapore up 10.0 per cent, said the ACI.
The volume of air cargo last year remained more or less at 2010 and 2011 levels. Most regions remained relatively weak in relation to their year-over-year growth rates.
Half of the airports in the top 30 busiest cargo airports experienced declines in 2012. With an overall contraction of minus 2.6 per cent in cargo traffic across European airports, the only bright spot was Middle Eastern airports with year-over-year growth of 5 per cent for the region as a whole.
"As the global economy and international trade gradually picks up steam, we are optimistic to see stronger demand for air transport in the latter half of 2013," said Rafael Echevarne, the ACI director of economics.
Abu Dhabi International Airport's traffic report for last month indicated a 13.1 per cent growth in passenger traffic over the same period last year, with more than 1.2 million passengers passing through the airport.
Aircraft movements in February also grew by 7.5 per cent over a year earlier, totalling 9,960 movements.Cargo volume increased 16.7 per cent, reaching 50,020 tonnes.
India recorded the highest traffic for the capital's airport in February, with traffic growing by 9.1 per cent over a year earlier, followed by Germany, then Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.