Dubai International handled 66,431,533 passengers in 2013, buoyed by a record-breaking December when numbers eclipsed six million for the first time.
The opening of the Emirates-dedicated Concourse A, the world’s first dedicated concourse for A380s, helped fuel the extraordinary 15.2 per cent annual growth, in tandem with the development of the Emirates-Qantas partnership, although flydubai’s rapid expansion was another contributory factor. Overall, the airport chalked up 28 new passenger destinations.
Dubai International continues to benefit from the large number of departing and arriving widebody jets with average number of passengers per aircraft movement rising to 198 in 2013, up 4.5 per cent from the 189 recorded in 2012.
As well as being the world’s largest operator of A380 aircraft, Emirates is also the world’s largest operator of B777s.
Aircraft movements in 2013 reached 369,953, up 7.5 per cent compared to 344,245 movements recorded during 2012. Aircraft movements in December totalled 32,832, compared to 30,945 movements during the same month in 2012, an increase of 6.1 per cent.
During the year a total of 28 new passenger destinations were added thanks largely to the expanding networks of Dubai-based airlines flydubai and Emirates bringing the total passenger destinations served by Dubai International to 239.
India retained its position as Dubai’s single largest destination country with 8,401,253 passengers, a year on year growth of 14.3 per cent compared to 7,347,270 in 2012. The UK placed second with 5,099,843 passengers (+19 per cent) followed by Saudi Arabia at 4,825,114 (+34.2 per cent).
In terms of destination cities served by Dubai International, Doha retained the top spot with 2,516,866 passengers (+12.9 per cent) followed closely by London with 2,494,555 passengers (+24.1 per cent) and Kuwait with 1,813,603 passengers (+13.3 per cent).
Eastern Europe was the fastest expanding regional market in terms of percentage growth in 2013 (+57.4 per cent) due to network expansion by flydubai and Emirates, followed by Australasia (+33.4 per cent) thanks to additional services and traffic resulting from the Emirates-Qantas partnership while Asia Pacific was placed third (+25.1 per cent).
Cargo volumes reached record levels in 2013 with 2,435,567 tonnes of air freight passing through Dubai International during 2013, up 6.8 per cent compared to 2,279,624 tonnes recorded during 2012. Monthly freight volumes in December totaled 218,138, up 8 per cent compared to 201,949 recorded during the same month in 2012.
Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, hailed 2013 as a “historic year”, as alongside Concourse A, it opened Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central to passengers and held a record breaking airshow that featured aircraft orders exceeding US$ 200 billion – the bulk of which was placed by Dubai’s flag carriers.
This year is set to be another eventful one as the airline strives to maintain its steep growth curve, while juggling a major runway maintenance programme over the summer.
“Dubai Airports trend for breaking records has become pleasingly predictable – the record breaking 66m passenger figure for 2013, a whopping 15 per cent rise over the previous year indicates extremely robust demand and that Dubai is the preferred international gateway for travel,” said Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research.
“This success does however hinge on the rapid growth of industry powerhouse that is Emirates. Their recent $76bn-plus deal for 150 new Boeing 777X jets has led the charge for Dubai Airports growth while the attractive fares offered by flydubai, arguably the worlds fast growing airline, has helped to draw in traffic from literally every corner of the globe – and that comes despite the regional angst seen in places like Bahrain, Syria, Libya and Egypt.
“2014 still has the chance to be another record year despite the runway work that will impact flights and no doubt cause delays, however, with Al Maktoum International Airport also open, it will help some airlines who shift operations there to mitigate against delays.”