Think busy airport and you probably think London Heathrow, which can be right up there on the enjoyment scale with having teeth pulled. But Heathrow is sliding down the airport rankings, while other airports are gearing up to handle vast numbers of passengers in coming years.
Heathrow dropped from the second busiest airport in the world to the fourth busiest last year, overtaken by Beijing and Chicago, according to Airports Council International‘s World Airport Traffic Report. Total passenger numbers at Heathrow actually dropped compared with the previous year, although at 65 million-plus passengers a year, it certainly still qualifies as busy.
Heathrow does remain the busiest airport in terms of international passengers but, it seems, it won’t be for long. Dubai (currently the fourth busiest airport for international passengers) has announced a massive $US7.8 billion ($7.4 billion) expansion to boost its capacity from 60 million passengers a year to more than 90 million by 2018. The project figures are astounding, with one stage of the expansion alone adding twice the footprint of Heathrow’s colossal Terminal 5.
The chief executive of Dubai Airport, Paul Griffiths, says the expansion plans and growth trends set Dubai “firmly on course to become the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic by 2015″. This is backed by analysis by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, which predicts Dubai will move into second place for international traffic before the year is out.
In terms of total passenger numbers, the busiest airport in the world last year was… (click here to keep reading this article by Jane E. Fraser)