Profiling the world’s top ten airports


The world’s top international airports in profile

We bring you profiles of the ten biggest airports worldwide measured by their international passenger traffic, with details and comment on their latest commercial development projects. By Dermot Davitt.

Dubai International

1

2017 international pax

87.7 million

2016 rank

1

Movement

With space at a premium at Dubai International today, the expansion of the world’s busiest airport by international passenger traffic will come through improved processes and new technology over the next five years. From 88 million passengers in 2017 and a forecast 90 million-plus in 2018, Dubai International is expected to hit 118 million by 2023.

By that point, plans to transfer major flight operations (notably those of Emirates Airline) to the new Al Maktoum International should be well advanced. Over the decade ahead, that location, which represents the future of aviation in the emirate, will open a new terminal (phase one is operational), two new concourses, a six-track underground train system, three runways and have capacity for 135 million passengers. The forecasts for later decades are staggering, with passenger demand set to exceed 190 million passengers a year by 2030 and grow rapidly from there – as Dubai aims to cement its status as the major hub linking east and west.

“Travellers are increasingly connected, mobile, impatient, brand-aware and value-driven” – Eugene Barry

With space at a premium at Dubai International today, the expansion of the world’s busiest airport by international passenger traffic will come through improved processes and new technology over the next five years. From 88 million passengers in 2017 and a forecast 90 million-plus in 2018, Dubai International is expected to hit 118 million by 2023.

Dubai Duty Free is of course a key player in the development and expansion of both Dubai International and Al Maktoum International. At the latter, the redevelopment of the Passenger Terminal Building now includes a refurbished Gifts from Dubai, plus electronics, beauty and liquor & tobacco shops. By the end of 2018, Dubai Duty Free’s space will have expanded to 4,500sq m, from the previous 2,500sq m.

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At Dubai International, the company is targeting sales of US$2 billion this year from US$1.93 billion in 2017, as it benefits from retail investment and continuing passenger growth.

Last year Dubai Duty Free opened around 1,800sq m of new space at Dubai International, with more following in 2018. The major refurbishment of Concourse C will be completed by year-end across 4,700sq m of space, with new watches and electronics shops among the highlights.

“The challenge is to broaden the definition of territory,” he says. “All of the airport is a marketplace, which can offer any product for anybody at any time.”

Noting that travellers through Dubai International are “increasingly connected, mobile, impatient, brand-aware and value-driven,” he says the offer must reflect these factors and influences. That means great shopping, new food offers, music, art and technology.

Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths on 2018 performance to date and key projects for the remainder of the year

International passenger traffic 2017: 87.7 million (+5.6%)

Passenger traffic by major country market 2017: India 12 million (+5.4%); UK 6.5 million (+6.7%); Saudi Arabia 6.4 million (+4.6%)

Key growth markets 2017: Russia (+28%); China (+19.4%); Thailand (+15.2%)

Passenger traffic by major city market 2017: London 4 million; Mumbai 2.5 million; Jeddah 2.1 million

Forecast passenger traffic Dubai International: 90.3 million (2018) and 118 million (2023)

Dubai Duty Free sales 2017: US$1.93 billion (+5.6%)

Source: Dubai Airports; Dubai Duty Free

Examples of the direction Dubai Airports is taking come in the planned reshaping of around 40% of the food & beverage offer this year; partnerships with tourism bodies and Dubai visitor attractions, and the launch of Dubai Airports’ own media brand, Time Out DXB, dedicated to events and activities at the airport.

As Barry notes: “By creating a connected, multisensory network that includes relevant products and services, and planned experiences enabled by technology, we are laying the foundations to connect with present and future travellers, and drive the airport retail business performance even further.”

Dubai International passenger traffic trends and forecasts

Note: The traffic figures here are published by exclusive agreement with m1ndset’s Business 1ntelligence Service (B1S). This unique air traffic forecasting tool was developed with IATA and ARC’s ‘Direct Data Service’ (DDS) database.

Dubai Duty Free: Targeting US$2 billion in 2018 sales amid a big investment in space


The Moodie Davitt Report • The Online Magazine • September 2018