Dubai airport targets 75m passengers by 2015 and become 'world's busiest and biggest'
Dubai International will handle 75 million passengers by 2015, helping it to leapfrog London Heathrow to become the world's busiest and biggest airport, according to the emirate's new civil aviation strategy plan.
"This figure will help Dubai International Airport to top the list of the busiest and biggest airports in the world in terms of international passenger capacity, overtaking London Heathrow," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority.
He is also the chairman of Dubai Airports and the chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline.
Dubai is already the second-busiest airport, having overtaken Paris-Charles de Gaulle in March. More than 57.6 million passengers last year travelled through it and it handled 21.9 million passengers in the first four months of this year.
"The aviation industry in the emirate of Dubai has witnessed a steady growth in the past years and it continues its stride, competing with the world's renowned aviation cities to acquire the highest share of passenger and air traffic," said Sheikh Ahmed.
Dubai International has grown from the 99th biggest airport 12 years ago as it benefits from the expansion of Emirates Airline and the emirate's position as a trans-shipment centre between East and West. Under its civil aviation strategy plan for 2013 to 2015, the emirate is targeting a similar rise across its aviation operations.
Passenger aircraft movements will jump by 17 per cent from 355,000 this year to 416,650 in 2015, according to the plan. A total of 35,000 cargo aircraft movements will be made in 2015, up from 28,250 this year.
The airport is undergoing a US$7.8 billion expansion to raise its capacity to about 100 million passengers by 2020. However, even that growth will be dwarfed by the increase in capacity at Dubai's new airport located near Jebel Ali, Al Maktoum International.
Paul Griffiths, the chief executive of Dubai Airports, told CNN this month that the facility, which will start handling passengers in October, would eventually be capable of handling up to 200 million passengers.
According to the aviation plan, the number of new destinations accessible from Dubai International will increase by 20 this year, 22 next year and 24 in 2015.
There would be a 0.5 per cent annual rise in flights into and out of Dubai every year.
Dubai's aviation industry supports about 259,000 jobs, according to the plan, and helped to generate more than $11.7bn for the economy in 2011, including indirectly through tourism and other industries.
Aviation's contribution to GDP will rise from 28 per cent in 2011 to 32 per cent, according to an estimate by Oxford Economics. "Besides the growth of the industry, we consider that it is our prime duty and responsibility to ensure implementing the highest standards of safety and security in all activities related to aviation," said Sheikh Ahmed.