Following its busiest month and year on record, Dubai International has taken over as the world's third ranked airport for international passenger numbers, vaulting ahead of Hong Kong International Airport in the global rankings.
According to the annual traffic report issued by Dubai Airports, passenger traffic surged 13.2 per cent to 57,684,550 in 2012, up from 50,977,960 passengers recorded during 2011. The 2012 passenger traffic also exceeded Dubai Airports' forecast at the start of the year of 56.5-million by more than 1 million passengers.
The year-end numbers were bolstered by a record 5,320,961 passengers in December 2012, 13.4 per cent higher than the 4,690,726 passengers recorded in December 2011 and the second month in Dubai International's 52 year history that passenger traffic has exceeded 5 million passengers.
Aircraft movements for 2012 reached 344,245 movements, up 5.5 per cent from the 326,318 movements recorded in 2011.
Regionally, South America was the fastest expanding market in terms of percentage growth in 2012 (+99.4 per cent) due to the introduction of Emirates flights to Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. The Russia & CIS region followed in second place (+36.9 per cent), Australasia (+21.9 per cent) in third spot and GCC fourth (+19.4 per cent). New Emirates flights to Washington, Dallas Fort Worth and Seattle during the year saw North American passenger traffic grow 18.6 per cent, making it the fifth fastest growing region.
India remained Dubai International's single biggest country destination in terms of passenger numbers. The passenger traffic between Dubai and India continued to show robust growth during the past year, with total passenger traffic rising 7.4 per cent year on year to 7.34 million passengers in 2012. Traffic was bolstered by the introduction of Spicejet which added new flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi and Ahmedabad to Dubai. Air India Express, Indigo and Emirates also added new flights and destinations during the year.
"Moving into the top three is a fantastic achievement for Dubai International and we now have London's Heathrow and the number one spot firmly within our sights. The opening of Concourse A, the world's first purpose-built A380 facility, has given us the room to maintain our strong growth into the new year, with a forecast of 65.4 million passengers in 2013," said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.