Dubai International Airport says it has retained its title as the world’s number one airport for international passengers after high numbers in December propelled the hub’s annual traffic to 83.6 million passengers in 2016, according to the annual traffic report issued by operator Dubai Airports.
DXB’s annual traffic in 2016 totalled 83,654,250 passengers, compared to 78,014,838 in 2015, a 7.2% improvement. The surge of travellers during the holiday season boosted monthly traffic in December to 7.7m, up 9.3% compared to the 7.1m recorded in December 2015. Growth for the full year was down from the 10.7% registered the previous year.
Cargo volumes were up 3.4% for the full year, at 2.6m tonnes.
India continued to lead as Dubai’s single largest destination country for the full year with 11.4m passengers in 2016 (+10.1%). Saudi Arabia took the second spot with 6.1m passengers (+11.3%) just marginally overtaking the UK. In terms of destination cities connected to DXB, London took the top spot from Doha with 3.7m passengers, while Doha clocked 3.0m passengers followed closely by Mumbai.
In terms of percentage growth in 2016, the top regions were Eastern Europe (17.5%), Asia (11.4%), and the Indian subcontinent (9.5%).
Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, predicted slower growth in 2017, with traffic expected to reach 89m passengers (+6.3%). Nonetheless he said that DXB was closing the gap on Atlanta and Beijing for the top spot in overall traffic.
Dubai’s new airport, Al Maktoum International, will expand capacity to 26m passengers in 2017 and expects to reach 120m by the mid-2020s.