Dubai’s two airports continue to see strong passenger traffic despite issues like the US electronic ban and other economic issues affecting travel.
At an event on Tuesday, Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffith stressed that the projection for passenger growth remains very strong.
“By the end of 2017, across the two Dubai airports, we are likely to hit the 100 million mark and as we edge up to 2025, we believe the demand for air travel through Dubai will be 142.8 million.”
Dubai International Airport remained the world’s busiest for international passengers in 2016, with annual traffic rising 7.2 per cent year-on-year to 83.6 million passengers.
The airport is forecasting 89 million passengers this year, representing growth of about 6.5 per cent.
Land-locked Dubai International’s challenge is how to reach the 118 million target by 2023 amid ongoing capacity constraints – and Griffiths said the solution lies in the “smart application of technology and enhanced processes”.
It takes around 10 seconds to process a passenger through the 127 smart gates.
“The idea is if you can double the throughput of the terminal, you can double the capacity at significantly less cost than to build a brand new airport terminal.”
He said it is close to opening and finalising the expansion of the airport terminal at Dubai World Central which will yield capacity of 26m by 2018. Phase 2, scheduled to open 2025, will raise capacity to 120 million.
Overall, aviation is expected to contribute $88.1bn to Dubai’s economy by 2030, accounting for 45 per cent of the city’s GDP.
The sector is also projected to provide 1,194,700 jobs, around 35 per cent of total employment.