Dubai is world's second-busiest international airport

By John Walton, September 2 2011
Dubai is world's second-busiest international airport

Dubai International Airport (DXB), home of Middle Eastern airline Emirates, is due to become the world's second busiest international airport before the end of the year.

The mega-airport will leapfrog Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Paris' Charles de Gaulle's annual passengers numbers by November, according to statistics from the Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation. London Heathrow, which saw 28.4 million international passengers in 2011, remains in pole position for now.

By November, over 1.3 million travellers per week will pass through Dubai. That's something of a problem for business travellers, who already experience congestion in the lounges at Dubai, especially at the newer Emirates facilities in terminal 3.

The airline's Skywards Gold top tier frequent flyers have even been stopped from bringing a guest into Emirates' lounges when travelling in Economy in order to, according to the airline, "alleviate the current facilities constraint".

Emirates recently opened a second first class lounge in Dubai to cope with its premium traffic.

Fortunately, the airport is in the middle of a major expansion, with a new concourse (its third) for terminal 3. A fourth concourse will open by 2018.

But DXB isn't going to be Dubai's only major passenger airport for long.

The lengthily named Dubai World Central International Airport (DWC), currently named Al Maktoum after the Dubai ruling family, is planned to be ten times larger than the existing DXB airport. The two airports are 40km apart.

With five parallel runways and three terminals, DWC will handle 120 million passengers. Considering Sydney handles nearly 36 million (including domestic flights, which Dubai doesn't really have on account of its size), it's almost hard to envisage the size of the new airport.


John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

23 Aug 2011

Total posts 66

Exciitng for EK and Dubai Inc but not for their premium pax in transit. I have given up on EK as the aiport is a nightmare and the EK lounges are like a zoo. Recently in transit to LOS the J class lounges were so congested I gave up and went and sat at the boarding lounge. EK have grown to fast and have to be careful that they do not start to lose premium pax. Having had to endure this several times I have been put of using EK and will be looking at QR in future.

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