Dubai airport traffic outpacing forecast – CEO

Dubai International is now on course to handle 118 million passengers by 2023

Dubai Airports’ rapid traffic growth has elevated the need for more capacity at both of Dubai’s airports.

In a presentation entitled ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ to British Business Group members on Wednesday, CEO Paul Griffiths said: “Our original projection for 2020 was 90 million and we’re going to achieve that by the end of next year.”

Read more: Dubai airport aims for 90 million passengers in 2017

Dubai International is now on course to handle 118 million passengers by 2023 while DWC’s existing passenger terminal building is being expanded to handle 26 million by the end of next year. Both are precursors to the over $30bn DWC phase 2 project that will accommodate 120 million passengers by 2025 at which time the plan is for it to become Emirates’ new hub.

“The masterplan has been signed off, we’re working long hard hours putting the final touches and it will be a significant undertaking,” added Griffiths.

On an average day, Dubai International handles 227,000 passengers, turns around 1,100 flights and handles around 206 passengers every flight. The world’s largest airport for international passenger traffic was ranked a lowly 44th in the traffic league in 1993.

Griffiths described working for Sheikh Ahmed bin-Saeed Al Maktoum as “an absolute dream”. “He’s the most wonderful man, quietly spoken, very humble but incredibly sharp, and he’s allowed me the freedom and supported me in all the decisions that we’ve had to do to make the enterprise it is today.”

Alongside slides detailing former positions at London Gatwick and Virgin Atlantic, Griffiths shared his personal passions for organ playing, fast cars and Harrier jets.