Expatriates entering and leaving the United Arab Emirates via Dubai International Airport will find that they are in good company.
December was the busiest month of record for the airport, tying up the loose ends for a year that broke all previous passenger numbers for the facility.
According to official figures, there was a 13.2 per cent increase in the number of flyers using the airport in 2012, taking the total to 57,684,550 from 50,977,960 the previous year.
This puts Dubai International ahead of Hong Kong Airport in the global rankings, making it the third busiest airport in the world.
Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports, said: “Moving into the top three is a fantastic achievement for Dubai International and we now have London’s Heathrow and the number one spot firmly within our sights.”
Officials had predicted that there would be an increase of traffic through the transport hub in 2012, but it expected to see around 56.5 million people using the airport, which was exceeded by more than one million.
December alone saw a record 5,320,961 passengers taking flights in and out of Dubai, a 13.4 per cent increase on the 4,690,726 who flew in December 2011.
Mr Griffiths added: “The opening of Concourse A, the world’s first purpose-built A380 facility, has given us the room to maintain our strong growth into the new year, with a forecast of 65.4 million passengers in 2013.”
Dubai is a popular destination for expats and tourists alike, lured by tax-free living and good job opportunities as well as world-class shopping and dining options.
“However, our rapid growth is not without its challenges and we will use the breathing room created by the phased opening of Concourse A to stress test every aspect of our service in the next year and put in place long-term processes that will put Dubai International on track to becoming the best airport in the world in addition to being the busiest,” concluded Mr Griffiths.
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