Robust growth across all markets helped cement Dubai International’s position as one of the fastest-growing international airports in the world. The airport began the year by leapfrogging Hong Kong International and Paris’s Charles de Gaulle to become the world’s second busiest airport for international passengers.
2011 - 50.9 million 2012 - 57.7 million 2013 - 66.5 million
The year ended much the way it began with double digit-growth for the full year putting Dubai International on target to overtake London’s Heathrow airport as the world’s busiest international airport by 2015.

The growth was largely driven by fast growing home carriers Emirates airline and flydubai which continued to expand their networks.

Australia in particular was a major growth market for Dubai International with Emirates’ partnership with Australian flag carrier Qantas, launched in May 2013, boosting passenger numbers in all cities served by the partnership. Traffic to and from India, the airport’s largest country destination, also continued to grow strongly as did the UK and Saudi Arabia.

Record passenger traffic

Dubai International

Dubai International ended 2013 with yet another record performance with more than six million passengers passing through the airport in December.

This helped propel overall passenger numbers up 15.3 per cent to 66,496,730, a dramatic increase from 57,684,550 recorded during 2012. Aircraft movements also showed robust growth in 2013 at 369,953, up 7.5 per cent from 344,245.

As the world’s busiest A380 hub, Dubai International continued to benefit from the efficiencies offered by the large number of wide-body jets that operate into it with the average number of passengers per aircraft movement rising to 198 in 2013, up 4.5 percent from the 189 recorded in 2012.

Dubai International added 28 new passenger destinations during the year, bringing the total number of destinations served to upwards of 260 cities worldwide.




Top spots

  • India
  • UK
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Pakistan
  • Qatar
  • Australia
  • Number Of Destinations
  • Flights/wk
  • Seats/wk
  • 18
  • 433
  • 99,334
emirates fly_dubai indigo air_india
air_india_express spice_jet jet_airways
  • Number Of Destinations
  • Flights/wk
  • Seats/wk
  • 6
  • 161
  • 64,547
emirates quantas british_airways virgin_atlantic
  • Number Of Destinations
  • Flights/wk
  • Seats/wk
  • 10
  • 283
  • 65,9324
emirates fly_dubai nas_air saudia
  • Number Of Destinations
  • Flights/wk
  • Seats/wk
  • 7
  • 154
  • 37,867
emirates fly_dubai pakistan_international air_blue
  • Number Of Destinations
  • Flights/wk
  • Seats/wk
  • 1
  • 203
  • 41,606
emirates fly_dubai qatar_airways united_airways
  • Number Of Destinations
  • Flights/wk
  • Seats/wk
  • 5
  • 70
  • 31,192
emirates quantas
India UK Saudi Arabia Pakistan Qatar Australia

“India retained its position as Dubai’s single largest country market with 8,401,253 passengers, a year on year growth of 14.3 per cent compared to 7,347,270 in 2012.”

India retained its position as Dubai’s single largest country market with 8,401,253 passengers, a year on year growth of 14.3 per cent compared to 7,347,270 in 2012.

The country is served by seven airlines – including flydubai, Emirates airlines, Jet Airways, Spicejet, Indigo, Air India and Air India Express – offering more than 185 flights a week to 20 destinations.

UK placed second with 5,099,843 passengers (+19 per cent) followed by Saudi Arabia at 4,825,114 (+34.2 per cent), propelled by passengers growth from Saudi cities Riyadh (up +28.6 per cent) and Jeddah (+21.6). Both Saudi destinations are firmly in the top 10 city destinations for Dubai International.

In terms of destination cities served by Dubai International, Doha retained the top spot with 2,516,866 passengers (+12.9 per cent) followed closely by London with 2,494,555 passengers (+24.1 per cent) and Kuwait City with 1,813,603 passengers (+13.3 per cent).

Eastern Europe was the fastest expanding regional market in terms of percentage growth in 2013 (+57.4 per cent) due to network expansion by flydubai and Emirates. During the year new flights were added to Volgograd, Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Krasnodar and Rostov.

Eastern Europe was followed by Australasia (+33.4 per cent) thanks to additional services and traffic resulting from the Emirates partnership with Qantas while Asia Pacific placed third (+25.1 per cent).


Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC)


A major milestone for DWC was the opening of the new passenger terminal on October 27, 2013 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and welcoming the first commercial flight, Wizz Air flight W6 2497 arriving from Budapest, Hungary.

Wizz Air, which was the airport’s launch customer with non-stop services linking DWC to Central and Eastern Europe, was soon joined at the airport by Jazeera Airways, Gulf Air and several charter airlines. Qatar Airways is also expected to begin operating from the airport in March 2014.

The opening of the passenger terminal marked the first step in the eventual development of DWC for large-scale passenger operations. The new terminal offers full retail as well as food and beverage amenities. It is serviced by one A380 capable runway, 64 remote aircraft stands and has capacity for up to 7 million passengers per year.

In its first two months of operations DWC handled a total of 65,197 passengers, a number that is set to rise as new airlines relocate to the airport and several others operate into DWC during the 80 day runway enhancement programme at Dubai International commencing May 1, 2014.

Cargo has been the mainstay for DWC since its opening in 2010. In the first three years volumes grew exponentially. Sea to air freight traffic growth was particularly robust as airlines took advantage of DWC’s bonded link to the Jebel Ali port. Additionally, the road feeder service operating between Dubai International and DWC facilitated the smooth flow of transit air freight.

Cargo traffic ended the year strong with 30 per cent growth in December, rising to 23,661 tonnes of freight compared to 18,025 tonnes during the corresponding month in 2012. During the full year, volumes dipped 4.5 per cent to 209,209 tonnes, down from 219,092 tonnes in 2012, on the back of fluctuations in charter traffic.

Freight volumes at DWC are expected to benefit significantly from the decision of several major cargo operators to move their freighter operations to Dubai’s second airport. Notably, Emirates Skycargo will move all dedicated freighter services from DXB to DWC in 2014. Accordingly, Emirates will also open a new 700,000 tonne cargo facility in April 2014.

In February 2014 Cathay also relocated its freighter operations to Al Maktoum International, which will serve as transit hub for its European destinations including Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Manchester, Paris and Milan. The airline currently operates seven weekly freighter services to Dubai. Similarly Air France-KLM moved it regional cargo hub to Al Maktoum International in the middle of 2013.

Dubai International now the world’s busiest A380 hub.

Dubai International, the second busiest airport for international passenger traffic according to Airports Council International data, can now claim the title as the world’s leading hub for Airbus A380 operations according to published airline industry flight schedule data.

Published schedule data for 2013 shows the airport had 10,608 A380 scheduled flights to 26 destinations, with 1,094 of those flights scheduled by Qantas and the rest by Emirates airline, the world’s biggest operator of the double-decker aircraft.

Taking second spot during 2013 with 5,491 A380 scheduled operations to 11 destinations was Singapore Changi. London Heathrow holds third position with 4,434 flights to six destinations followed by Paris Charles de Gaulle with 3,515 flights to 11 destinations and Frankfurt with 3,391 flights to 12 destinations.

In November the home carrier Emirates airline ordered an additional 50 A380 aircraft, taking the airline’s total A380 order book to 96 aircraft. Emirates already operates 44 A380 aircraft.

To meet this growth in A380 flights, Dubai Airports on January 2, 2013 opened Concourse A, the world’s first purpose built A380 facility and a strong validation of our intention to be the world’s premiere A380 hub. This new facility has 20 two-tiered gates which allow passengers to board directly from the first and business class lounges.

During its first year operations more than 14,596,893 passengers and 22 million bags passed through Concourse A.

Facility expansion plans

To meet the rapid growth in passenger numbers, Dubai Airports is investing $7.8bn in the expansion of Dubai International’s facilities to accommodate 100 million passengers by 2020.

The expansion plan, dubbed SP2020, will create additional capacity which includes new terminal space, improvement to the airport’s runways as well as expansion to the airport’s cargo facilities.

In 2013 significant strides were made towards completing the facilities and infrastructure outlined in SP2020, the highlight of which was the opening of Concourse A, the world’s first purpose built A380 facility, the opening of the first phase of the Terminal 2 expansion and refurbishment and opening of new cargo facilities.

Significant progress was also made on Concourse D, which, when opened in the first quarter of 2015, will serve as the new home of the 100 international scheduled carriers airlines.

Dubai International

Concourse A

During its first year of operations, Concourse A handled 22,921,761 pieces of luggage carried on over 50,906 flights serving 14,596,893 passengers.

Concourse A, also known as A Gates, is part of the Terminal 3 complex built for the use of Emirates, from where its passengers can travel to its fast-expanding network of A380 destinations across Europe, North America, Australia and Asia. With 11 floors and a total built-up area of 528,000 square metres, Concourse A is connected to Concourse B and Terminal 3 via an underground train.

The facility features 20 A380 capable contact gates and Emirates’ luxurious First Class and Business Class lounges, which span 29,000 square metres.

Unlike any other airport facility in the world, the First Class and Business Class lounges have dedicated floors that offer direct and convenient access to aircraft boarding gates. The lounges, which extend the entire length of the concourse, are the largest in the world and offer customers’ fine dining with showcase kitchens, conference rooms, business centres, a Timeless Spa, entertainment zones, dedicated smoking areas as well as children’s play areas.

A distinguishing feature of Concourse A is its world-class dining experience featuring a wide variety of high-quality and globally recognised food and beverage brands which include Paul, Umaizushi Bistro, Picnic, Wafi Gourmet, Carluccio’s, Cho Gao, Pulp Juice Bar, McDonald’s and McCafe, Shake Shack, Costa Metropolitan, Starbucks, Le Pain Quotidien, Giraffe, Heineken Lounge, Jack’s Bar & Grill and Moet & Chandon Champagne Bar.

Cargo facility expansion

While all dedicated freighter operations are in the process of being moved to DWC, belly hold cargo at Dubai International will remain a significant part of the cargo business, particularly given the rapid expansion of the Emirates airline fleet and network.

To accommodate this growth a new cargo staging facility for Emirates Skycargo at Dubai International opened in May 2013, dramatically speeding up the loading of belly cargo on Emirates passenger aircraft.

The new staging facility is the first phase of a cargo facility being built on the site of the old Dubai Expo building. Once completed in the middle of 2014, the 400,000 tonne facility will be used to transport cargo between Dubai International and DWC.

Additionally Dubai Airports will be increasing the Cargo Mega Terminal’s capacity to 1.6 million tonnes a year, up 300,000 tonnes from the current 1.3 million tonne limit, through facility expansion and improved automation, as well as the refurbishing of Freight Gate 1 and Hall A. Together the three buildings will become completely integrated and operated by Emirates SkyCargo.

Towards the end of 2013, work began in earnest on the expansion of the Cargo Mega Terminal and remains on track for completion by the middle of 2015.

Concourse D

With a designed capacity of 18 million passengers a year, Concourse D is vital in ensuring that Dubai International continues to accommodate the continued rapid growth in passenger traffic, expected to surpass 100 million passengers a year in 2020.

Designed around a central atrium, the emphasis in Concourse D is to create a more efficient customer experience which shortens the passenger journey through it 28 gates.

In 2013 significant progress was made in the construction of the new facility and construction is on track for Concourse D to open in early 2015. At the same time work on the new elevated rail link connecting Concourse D to Terminal 1 made significant progress in the year under review and the completion of the elevated rail link is expected by the middle of 2014. Completion of the rail link will allow for the installation of rail systems by the manufacturer and supplier Bombardier and we expect the first APM, in its new Dubai Airports livery, to be delivered and lifted into position in the second quarter of 2014.

Terminal 1 refurbishment

The refurbishment of Terminal 1 got underway in late 2013 and once completed towards the end of 2014 will provide passengers with a vastly improved customer experience in line with that being introduced in Concourse D.

Work is underway in the landside arrivals hall where arrivals area is being completely revamped to improve passenger flow, resulting in a larger meeters and greeters’ area as well as a completely new retail environment with refurbished and new food & beverage outlets. The front of the terminal building is also being expanded to accommodate a new indoor taxi waiting area and to provide a reception area for tour groups.

Terminal 2

Following the opening of the first phase of the expanded Terminal 2 in April 2013, the refurbishment of the existing building continued apace during the second half of the year.

The first phase of the project saw the footprint of the terminal virtually doubled and included the expansion of the check-in area. Once phase 1 was completed, the refurbishment of the existing departures hall and arrival area got underway and is progressing steadily.

In the second phase, work is on track to open the new, expanded departures area – which includes six additional gates – early in 2014. The new transfer and arrival area, which will boast a new retail and foodcourt, is expected to follow when it opens to the public at the end of the first half of this year.

The final phase of project will see the arrivals area expanded and revamped, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

Once fully complete, Terminal 2 will have 48 check-in counters, 12 gates and a greater selection of food & beverage outlets.

Runway refurbishment

In May 2013 Dubai Airports announced that it would conduct an extensive runway enhancement project at Dubai International (DXB) during an 80-day period commencing May 1, 2014.

The northern runway is nearing the end of its design life and requires resurfacing and other modifications to accommodate future traffic. At the same time there is a requirement to upgrade runway lighting and construct new taxiways on the southern runway to boost capacity.

The southern runway will be closed from May 1 to May 31, 2014 while the northern runway will be out of operation May 31 to July 20, 2014 as the upgrades are implemented.

The runway rehabilitation and additional taxiway construction will require about 800,000 tonnes of aggregates, 11,000 airfield lighting luminaires, 1,050km of cabling, 1,750 new manholes and 8.3km of drainage piping.

“The runway rehabilitation and additional taxiway construction will require about 800,000 tonnes of aggregates, 11,000 airfield lighting luminaires, 1,050km of cabling, 1,750 new manholes and 8.3km of drainage piping.”

The planned refurbishment requires extensive and meticulous planning to ensure that the impact on airlines and passengers are kept to the minimum. To safeguard service levels while the work is taking place, scheduled passenger flights at its hub airport will be reduced and all freighter, charter and general aviation flights will be diverted to DWC.

During the second half of 2013, extensive discussions were held with airlines to reduce flight schedules during the 80 day period to ensure Dubai Airports is able to protect service levels and optimise the capacity that is available at both airports.

Also during the year under review, a special working group led by Dubai Airports and includingd representatives from Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects and other stakeholders, began developing plans that will mitigate risk and support smooth operations and optimal capacity during the closure. The impact of the runway closure is expected to be no more than a 26 per cent reduction in capacity.

Among the initiatives is the construction of an end around taxiway on Dubai International’s northern runway, which is well underway. The new taxiway will allow aircraft using the southern runway to taxi to the north side of the airfield without crossing over the northern runway, thus improving traffic flow on both runways both during and after the refurbishment period.

Other works, including the start of construction of rapid exit taxiways on both runways, will enable runway occupancy times to reduce upon the respective runways’ return to service. The construction of these taxiways is part of several work packages that will be completed before the runway closure in May 2014 to help optimise capacity during the 80-day period and beyond.


Passenger Terminal Building

During 2013, Dubai Airports opened DWC to passenger traffic when it threw open the doors to its new passenger terminal.

DWC will play a vital role in the future development of Dubai as a centre for trade, commerce, transport and logistics and tourism and the opening of the terminal is only the first step in the long-term development of the airport for passenger operations.

The new passenger terminal offers full retail as well as food and beverage amenities. It is serviced by one A380 capable runway, 64 remote aircraft stands and has capacity for up to 7 million passengers per year.