Dubai airport eclipses Paris, eyes Heathrow

LONDON — Dubai International airport attracted more passengers than Paris Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt last year as Gulf carriers bleed long-haul transfer traffic away from Europe’s leading hubs.

The airport, home base of Emirates, the biggest airline by international traffic, lifted customer numbers to 66.4 million from 57.7 million a year earlier. The 15 percent gain took Dubai past European No. 2 Charles de Gaulle, which attracted 62 million passengers, and the No. 3 Frankfurt, with 58 million.

A similar growth rate at Dubai in 2014 would allow the hub to surpass London Heathrow, which while growing passenger numbers 3.4 percent to 72.3 million last year is already operating close to the limits of its two runways. The Gulf hub is being expanded to serve 90 million travelers annually, even as Dubai builds the new Al Maktoum base designed to handle 150 million people and with a potential capacity for 200 million.

“It was truly a historic year for Dubai’s aviation sector,” said Chief Executive Officer Paul Griffiths. “2014 is set to be another eventful year, one featuring continued traffic growth, network expansion and the ongoing enlargement and upgrade of our facilities and runways.”

In 2012, Dubai International attracted 4 million fewer passengers than Paris Charles de Gaulle and ranked neck and neck with Frankfurt, which handled 57.5 million that year.

Europe’s major airports are also under pressure from Istanbul Ataturk, where the passenger count surged 14 percent in 2014 to 51.3 million, taking it past Madrid and almost level with Amsterdam Schiphol, the continent’s fourth-busiest hub.

Like Emirates and Gulf rivals Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways PJSC of Abu Dhabi, Turk Hava Yollari, or Turkish Airlines, is exploiting the position of its home base at a crossroads for intercontinental air routes to grab an increasing share of a transfer market that’s long been central to the business models of West European airports. Ataturk’s owner is part-controlled by the parent of Charles de Gaulle, helping to hedge against the eastward shift in hub traffic.

Dubai also saw the average number of people per plane rise to 198, it said, swollen by its status as the biggest global base for Airbus Group NV’s A380 superjumbo, for which Emirates is far and away the No. 1 customer. That compares with a figure of 154.8 passengers at Heathrow, itself one of the biggest bases for the double-decker model.

Aircraft movements at Dubai gained 7.5 percent to 369,953, compared to 469,552 at Heathrow, while 28 destinations were added, bringing the total to 239, with India ranking as Dubai’s single-largest market. The Qatari capital Doha and London were the most popular destination cities.

Abu Dhabi International airport boosted passenger numbers 12 percent last year to 16.5 million, with 135,000 aircraft movements, it said.

More in Herald Business Journal

Amazon begins leasing a warehouse in south Everett

Amazon has started leasing a 92,000-square-foot warehouse in south Everett… Continue reading

Health-care consumers need to take the lead, so get smart

David Russian, CEO of Western Washington Medical Group, writes our third essay about fixing health care.

JCPenney partners with EvCC, WSU to assist students

Earlier this month, JCPenney partnered with the Career Service Centers at Everett… Continue reading

Re/Max Elite adds two agents in Lynnwood

Jenelle Dent and Lori DaSilva have joined Re/Max Elite as agents at… Continue reading

Register for Marysville Tulalip Business Before Hours event

The Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce holds its next Business Before… Continue reading

Wells Fargo donates $2,500 to Edmonds Center for the Arts

Edmonds Center for the Arts has received a grant of $2,500 from… Continue reading

More business, more competition for Everett kidney dialysis center

Nonprofit Puget Sound Kidney Centers sees large for-profit competitors enter state market.

Molina Medical holds fall carnival for families in Everett

Molina Medical is hosting a free event for families in the Everett… Continue reading

Leadership Snohomish County celebrates 20 years of service

Leadership Snohomish County is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The organization was launched… Continue reading

Most Read