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Aviation growth sustainable.

Dubai International to maintain 70 million passengers despite partial shutdown

Dubai International Airport, currently ranked as the world's busiest airport, will sustain its growth to record passenger traffic above 70 million in 2014 despite the 80-day partial runway closure, Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Emirates airline and Chief Executive of the Emirates Group, said on Sunday.

Speaking to the media following the opening of the 14th edition of Airport Show at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Shaikh Ahmed said Dubai, which aims to increase the aviation sector's contribution to the economy to 32 per cent by 2020, will continue to invest in aviation infrastructure to cope up with the anticipated growth in air passengers and cargo movements in the coming years.

In the first quarter, Dubai International Airport became the busiest airport in the world, overtaking London Heathrow, thanks to strong growth by local carriers -- Emirates and flydubai.

Dubai Airports received 18.36 million passengers in the first quarter of this year compared to 16.1 million passengers that passed through London Heathrow in the same quarter. In the first three months of the year, passenger traffic at Dubai Airport rose by 11.4 per cent to a record 18.36 million, compared with the 16.486 million passengers it received in the same quarter last year.

The airport, which handled over 66 million passengers in 2013, and was ranked the world's second-busiest airport for international passengers, is undergoing a runway upgrade that has prompted several airlines to curtail their operations or move their flight operations to Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai World Central and Sharjah International Airport.

Shaikh Ahmed said the coming together of exhibitors from across all the geographical regions coming to Dubai for the Airport Show-2014 in big numbers than the previous editions clearly reflects the global interest in the Middle East region's booming aviation sector with the UAE in general and Dubai in particular leading the pack.

"We are in the midst of a long and meaningful journey with many more milestones to cross. We remain strongly committed to aviation's growth and our investments and developments in this crucial economic sector remain strong and unfaltering as ever before," Shaikh Ahmed said.

Accompanied by senior officials of regional airports and civil aviation authorities, Shaikh Ahmed later went on a tour of the exhibition which occupies about 12,600sqm of gross exhibition space in three halls at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Airport Show 2014, the world's top-league B2B event featuring 250 exhibitors from 39 countries, has been designed for the airport procurement, supplies, solutions and technology for the Middle East region, where an estimated $100 billion investments, including $40 billion in the six GCC states, have been earmarked for airports expansion. According to International Air Transport Association, the Middle East region is expected to record the fastest growth rate of 6.6 per cent until 2016, making it the second-fastest growing aviation market in the world.

Aviation experts forecast that airports in the region that are currently under various stages of expansion and upgrades are projected to cater to 400 million passengers by 2020, with the UAE airports taking one-fourth of the share in the anticipated growth in air passenger traffic.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:May 12, 2014
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