Dubai International Airport will overtake London Heathrow to become the world’s busiest civil aviation hub by next year, according to Dubai Airports chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
Sheikh Ahmed, who is also chairman of Emirates Airline, told reporters on Wednesday that the airport’s operator was also working to raise capacity to accommodate more Airbus A380 superjumbos for the Dubai carrier, according to Bloomberg.
“We are going according to plan to accommodate all A380s,” Sheikh Ahmed was quoted as saying. “Hopefully within one year from now we would be number one.” Emirates currently has about 90 double-decker A380s on order. Dubai opened a dedicated facility for the aircraft earlier this year.
Dubai International Airport’s annual traffic report showed that 57.6m passengers passed through the hub last year, a 13.2 percent increase compared to 2011. The statistics made Dubai the world’s third busiest airport, overtaking Hong Kong International Airport.
Officials at Dubai have previously said that it was on target to overtake London Heathrow, the world’s busiest, by 2015.
Heathrow is near its capacity of 68m passengers a year, while Dubai International is expected to accommodate 90m people per year by 2018 due to expansion work.
Dubai’s growth has been rapid, rising from the 99th largest international airport only 11 years ago.
The world’s largest A380 facility opened at Dubai International's Terminal 3 in early January, while the airport’s freight capacity is due to be expanded by 25 percent to 1.5m tonnes per by 2018.