Dubai airport receives 1 billionth passenger

Sheikh Mohammed said Dubai was “committed to remaining the first choice in transporting people across borders, helping them fulfil dreams, meet loved ones and discover the world’s wonders.”
Saturday 22/12/2018
A security gate at the Dubai International Airport. (AFP)
Top destination. A security gate at the Dubai International Airport. (AFP)

LONDON – The 1 billionth passenger to travel through Dubai International Airport arrived in the emirate December 20 after a 14-hour flight from Orlando, Florida.

Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum announced the milestone, saying Dubai had reached a “new phase in its journey towards a bright future.”

“One billion passengers have made Dubai Airports a part of their personal story and helped shape Dubai into a global hub,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

Sheikh Mohammed said Dubai was “committed to remaining the first choice in transporting people across borders, helping them fulfil dreams, meet loved ones and discover the world’s wonders.”

The 1 billion-customer mark is arguably the most significant of many achievements since Dubai International Airport opened September 30, 1960, with a tiny terminal and a runway of compacted sand.

It took the airport 51 years to record its 500 millionth passenger, who arrived December 31, 2011, but only seven more years to welcome the next half-a-billion.

The airport expected to cater to more than 90 million passengers through its three terminals in 2018. About 2.65 million tonnes of cargo are moved through the airport each year.

Dubai became the world’s busiest for international travellers in 2014, overtaking London’s Heathrow. Emiratis have said they hoped it could overtake Atlanta and Beijing to become the world’s busiest overall within the next three years.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International handled 103.9 million passengers in 2017 and Beijing Capital International handled 95.8 million.

India, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia were the Dubai airport’s top destinations in October, with nearly 1 million passengers travelling to India.

Dubai is developing a second airport 60km south of Dubai International. Al Maktoum International is expected to report a fivefold increase in annual capacity this year to 26 million passengers.