Dubai Airport: 5 things about the world's top international air hub

Passengers at Dubai Airport.  -- PHOTO: DUBAI AIPORTS
Dubai Airports today released its year-end traffic report which confirm that Dubai International (DXB) has secured its position as the number one airport for international passenger numbers. -- PHOTO: DUBAI AIPORTS

Dubai Airport has become the world's top international air hub, surpassing London's Heathrow airport.

The Middle East airport had 70.47 million passengers pass through its terminals in 2014, compared with 68.1 million for Heathrow.

Dubai passenger numbers rose 6.1 per cent last year, from 66.4 million passengers in 2013.

Singapore's Changi Airport ranks seventh, based on figures up to September 2014 on the Airports Council International website.

If domestic travellers are included, then Heathrow trumps Dubai with 73.4 million passengers.

But the title of world's busiest airport goes to Chicago's O'Hare Airport in the United States, which served 8.8 million international and domestic passengers last year.

Here's more about the Dubai Airport:

1. Rapid growth


The Gulf airport, which opened in 1960, has had five decades of 15 per cent average growth in traffic a year, said its chairman, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

It has doubled its passenger traffic in seven years, or since 2007, when it handled 34.4 million passengers.

Dubai International now serves more than 140 airlines flying to more than 270 destinations across six continents. In contrast, Changi Airport serves some 100 airlines, which fly to more than 300 cities.

Passenger numbers are projected to reach 78.4 million in 2015 and cross 100 million by 2020.

2. Home to Emirates


It is home to Emirates, the Middle East's largest carrier, which accounts for about 50 per cent of Dubai's passengers. The airport's rapid expansion can be traced back to 2008 when it opened a third terminal to cater exclusively to Emirates.

Emirates has risen in popularity among travellers, and has to be credited for making Dubai a major transit hub for travellers flying from East to West and vice versa.

It is also the home base of budget airline FlyDubai and Emirates SkyCargo. Australia's Qantas uses it as a second air hub.

3. Less flights but more passengers


Dubai handled fewer flights than Heathrow last year, and even had 80 days of downtime due to a runway refurbishment.

It made up for that with larger loads on bigger planes. In 2014, the number of passengers per flight was 208.3, CNN said. The average load was 145 on the typical flight at Heathrow.

Its flagship airline Emirates has far more Airbus A380 "Superjumbo" jets than any other airline.

4. Largest airport terminal in the world


The airport consists of three terminals, and a fourth is on the way. Terminal 3 is the second largest building in the world by floor space and the largest airport terminal in the world.

5. Media savvy


The airport was quick to put up a video on its Facebook page to celebrate its new status.


It also has its own reality television series, produced by National Geographic. A peek behind the scenes of the airport's operations, the show was so popular, a second season is now airing.

It is very active on social media, and even posts photos of stars arriving at the airport.


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