Dubai International Airport posted a record year for passenger traffic in 2011, with volumes hitting 50.98 million, up +8% on 2010. Aircraft movements climbed by +6.2% to 326,317.
During 2011, 28 new passenger destinations were added while 17 were discontinued, boosting the number of routes served by Dubai International to 215 compared to 204 one year ago.
The strongest markets served in terms of total passenger numbers included India, UK, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Qatar, Germany and US. The most significant percentage traffic growth during the year was seen on routes linking Dubai to Eastern Europe (+81%), Russia & CIS (+30.5%) AGGC (+26.5%) and North America (+16.1%).
December passenger numbers reached 4.69 million, an increase of +10.2% compared to the same month in 2010. Aircraft movements totalled 29,519 in December, an increase of 7.7% year-on-year.
“Recording 51 million passengers in our 51st year of operations may be somewhat coincidental but it speaks volumes of the momentum building at one of the world’s fastest growing international hubs,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports. “In a year that was characterised by economic uncertainty, political instability and high oil prices passenger growth continued unabated driven by new routes and additional frequencies as airlines capitalised on Dubai’s attractiveness as a business and tourism destination and efficiency as a transfer hub. That trend will continue in 2012 with our two largest airlines – Emirates and flydubai – are set to receive additional aircraft throughout the year.”
Dubai Airports will invest US$7.8 billion in airport expansion to boost the current capacity from 60 million passengers per year to 90 million passengers by 2018. The next significant step in those expansion plans will be the completion of Concourse 3, the world’s largest dedicated A380 facility, scheduled for the end of 2012.
“Aviation is big business in Dubai supporting 250,000 jobs and US$22 billion in economic activity or 28% of GDP,” added Griffiths. “By investing in the expansion of the airport infrastructure, those contributions are expected to grow to 372,900 jobs and US$45.4 billion in economic activity or 32% of GDP by 2020 according to international research firm Oxford Economics. That is a remarkable return on investment.”