The year 1960 was a watershed year for Dubai. Sheikh Rashid’s visionary decision to embrace aviation by adopting an open skies policy and build a new airport changed the course of history in the emirate. It laid the foundation of what is now Dubai International, the world’s second busiest international airport and the pride of the UAE.
We are again approaching another watershed moment and in 2013 we laid the foundation for the next exciting chapter of global aviation history.
Underpinning our future plans is our continued robust growth which has averaged more than 15 per cent over the past 50-plus years. In 2013 traffic at Dubai International continued to soar, with more than 66 million passengers passing through our airport: growth which is on track to surpass 100 million by 2020. To meet that growth, we have already mapped out our expansion plans at Dubai International to 2020 through our $7.8bn SP2020 expansion plan. But 2020 is fast approaching and we need to look even further into the future.
The rapid growth trend of the past few years is expected to be sustained well beyond 2020. It is the impetus behind record-breaking fleet orders placed by Emirates airline and flydubai at the 2013 Dubai Airshow and it is the catalyst behind our emergent plans for the ongoing development of Dubai’s aviation infrastructure.
As we contemplate the next phase of our growth, a similarly visionary approach is needed. The way we travel is rapidly changing and we have to reflect that in the way we design and build our airports. With a green field development such as Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central, Dubai’s airport of the future, we have the opportunity to do just that.
During 2013 there was extensive discussion and planning on the way forward and in the year ahead will continue to shape what we would like our future to look like. This is the first step into a bold new future.
Our vision it to create not only the world’s biggest airport, but the world’s best. Our hope is that it will also change the way airports the world over will be built in future for the benefit of the customers and communities they serve.
HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum
President, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority
Chairman, Dubai Airports
Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Group