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Passenger traffic through Dubai International Airport has risen 6.1 in July.
Passenger traffic through Dubai International Airport has risen 6.1 in July.

Dubai's battle with London's Heathrow to be the world's busiest hots up

Passenger traffic at Dubai International increased by more than 6 per cent last month as the airport continued to inch closer to the title of the world's busiest hub.

Passenger traffic at Dubai International increased by more than 6 per cent last month as the airport continued to inch closer to the title of the world’s busiest hub for international travel.

Passenger traffic at the airport, which became the world’s second busiest for global travellers in March upon leapfrogging Paris Charles de Gaulle, rose by 6.1 per cent to 5.3 million people last month compared with the same month last year.

By comparison, Heathrow, the world’s busiest international hub, recorded a 5.5 per cent rise in passengers in the period to 6.9 million. The airport said the growth was largely attributable to lower traffic in July last year as a result of the timing of the Olympics, which started at the end of the month.

Year to date passenger traffic in Dubai, which is expected to overtake Heathrow by 2015, is up more than 15 per cent to 37.9 million.

Heathrow’s year-to-date figure stands at 41.3 million.

Traffic to Dubai from all regions grew last month – with the exception of the GCC and the Middle East, because of the year-on-year shift in the timing of Ramadan.

Eastern Europe was among the strongest markets in passenger growth at 58.7 per cent, due to flydubai’s expansion in the region and Emirates Airline’s new service to Warsaw. Australasia followed behind, with a 49.4 per cent rise in passenger traffic driven by Emirates’ expansion and Qantas’ new route connecting Australia and London through Dubai.

Air freight volumes saw a modest increase of 1.2 per cent per cent during July. Year to date growth remains robust at 9.8 per cent.

“Dubai International continues to build its reputation as a leading global hub that is characterised by relentless traffic growth, rapid expansion and an unflagging commitment to service,” said the Dubai Airports chief executive Paul Griffiths.

“What is not immediately visible is the behind the scenes activity and cooperation that it takes to deliver on all three fronts every day in a complex and dynamic environment.”

However, people will get the opportunity to find out next month when the hub features in Ultimate Airport Dubai, a 10-part series starting on September 5 on National Geographic’s global network.

gduncan@thenational.ae

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