Middle EastWorld

Dubai airport still top for int’l traffic

CEO offers to help US hubs

Paul Griffiths

DUBAI: Dubai International cemented its title as the world’s busiest airport for international passengers in 2016, with a 7.2 percent increase in traveller numbers to 83.6 million, its operator said yesterday. Dubai Airports said “near record numbers” in December had pushed annual traffic at the Gulf hub to 83,654,250 passengers, compared with 78,014,838 in 2015. The airport, which serves as the home of Emirates airline, became the world’s busiest in terms of international passenger traffic in 2014. “With our new forecast for 89 million passengers in 2017, DXB is closing the gap on Atlanta and Beijing for the top spot in overall traffic,” Dubai Airports chief executive Paul Griffiths in a statement.

The airport announced in February it was expanding its annual capacity to 90 million passengers with the opening of a new concourse. Griffiths said at the time that Dubai Airports was expecting to receive 85 million passengers in 2016 – something he blamed on the economic, political and terror-related turmoil of the past year. “We know that the global economy has slowed a little bit and the propensity for travel has dropped, but I think that 2016 was quite an unparalleled year,” Griffiths told AP. “Fortunately, our numbers are still holding up.”

Griffiths also said Dubai International Airport – often lauded by US President Donald Trump during his campaign – would welcome a call from the Trump administration on ways to improve American airports. Situated on transcontinental air routes, Dubai is one of several Gulf-based airports to experience prodigious growth in recent years. More than 100 airlines fly to around 260 destinations from the international hub. The rapid growth has angered US carriers, which allege Emirates, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad and Qatar Airways receive unfair government subsidies. The three Gulf airlines repeatedly have denied the allegations.

Asked about Trump’s protectionist stance, Griffiths said it would hurt consumers the worst. “The result of that is reduced choice for the consumer and higher prices,” he said. He added that the Dubai airport would welcome any discussions with US officials about how to improve their airports. “If America and President Trump would like some of the expertise from Dubai, I’m sure we’d be pleased to assist.” Griffiths said. – Agencies

Back to top button