Dubai International has overtaken London’s Heathrow Airport to become the world’s top hub in international travel after handling 70.47 million passengers in 2014, its authority said on Tuesday.
Traffic at the airport increased 6.1 per cent last year, Dubai Airports said, and it expects the number of travellers passing through the hub to surge in 2015 to 79 million.
Dubai International is home to Emirates, the Middle East’s largest carrier, which along with Abu Dhabi’s Etihad and Qatar Airways have seized a significant portion of travel between the West, Asia and Australasia.
Heathrow handled 68.1 million international passengers in 2014, according to airport figures.
The British hub still outclassed Dubai International in overall numbers, handling 73.4 million passengers if travellers on domestic flights are included.
“This historic milestone is the culmination of over five decades of double-digit average growth,” Dubai Airports Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum said in a statement.
Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths said Dubai International would boost its annual capacity to 90 million passengers this year with the opening of Concourse D — a new hall for arrivals and departures.
The Gulf emirate’s other airport, Al-Maktoum International, opened in 2013 for passengers and will be capable of handling 120 million travellers when completed by 2022.