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FlyDubai plane landing at Dubai International
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Dubai ahead of Heathrow

January 27, 2015

Dubai International handled a record number of passengers last year, putting it ahead of London's Heathrow for the first time as the planet's busiest international airport. Heathrow looks unlikely to win back the crown.


Dubai's airport operators said Tuesday that 70.5 million passengers streamed through the city's international airport in 2014, marking a 6-percent increase on last year.

The rapid growth put Dubai International squarely ahead of London Heathrow for the first time as the world's busiest international transport hub.

Dubai International pulled off the big gains despite having to redirect many flights to the Gulf city's second airport, Al Maktoum while it overhauled the hub's two side-by-side runways over the summer.

Rise of domestic carriers

Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths predicted Dubai International would top its own record and handle 79 million passengers this year, saying it offered "more flights connecting more people to more destinations."

Dubai airport has been expanding fast thanks in part to the growth of hometown airline Emirates, and smaller budget carrier FlyDubai.

Both airlines and the city's airports are owned by the emirate's government, which has championed aviation as a central driver of the local economy.

While Dubai is now home to the busiest international aviation hub, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, in the US, remains the world's busiest passenger airport overall.

hg/bk (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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