Dubai bumped off Heathrow to position itself as the busiest airport in the world for international flights in 2014. According to Paul Griffiths, the Chief Executive of Dubai International airport, the facility welcomed 71 million international passengers in 2014. As per articles spread across UK flight news, the number of passengers travelling from Heathrow was 68.1 million.
Griffiths said that Heathrow is at the losing end as Dubai is easily able to meet the growing demand, while Heathrow is unable to do so. Heathrow, with its two runways, is already operating at almost full capacity.
The news of Heathrow being surpassed by Dubai arrives at at time when the British government has established Airport Commission to seek advice whether it should recommend a new runway for the saturated airport or not. Alternatively, as per a number of flight news reports, the new runway can also be built at Gatwick, the second biggest airport in the United Kingdom.
The increased transient population at Gatwick and Heathrow is a major pillar in the support for new capacity. Approximately 73.4 million passengers – a mix of both international and domestic – passed through the many gates of the airports. Passenger count went up 1.4 percent compared to 2013.
Catering to emerging markets
Heathrow airport brought into focus a robust growth of traffic on the routes to the emerging markets like Mexico and China. However, according to Mr. Griffiths, who incidentally was the head of Gatwick airport before he joined Dubai International airport, feels that Dubai will continue its strong growth in the coming years. He added that there is a far chance that UK will regain its peak position as far as international arrivals and departures are concerned.
Griffith pointed out that in case there is a constrain on the capacity of the airports, companies will begin to base their headquarters in foreign countries to minimise the travel expense. Such a shift is a direct hit any nation’s economy. According to David Bentley of Center for Aviation, and a number of world airline news sources, Dubai has now surpassed the competition and will constantly improve to stay on the top.
The growth of Dubai International airport is linked to the expansion of state-administered carrier Emirates Airline. The airline began its operation in 1985. The airline now operates the biggest fleet of long route passenger jets.
John Holland-Kaye, the Chief Executive of Heathrow, has admitted to his airport’s loss of eminence. He said that Britain has long benefited from being the site of the largest airport in the world and also the biggest airport for preceding 350 years. However, Heathrow’s absence of capacity led to Dubai taking the crown.
When it came to Gatwick, the airport serviced 38.1 million passengers in 2014, an increase of 7.6 percent compared to 2013. The European routes clocked a robust growth, however, lack of capacity pulled down both Heathrow and Gatwick.