Dubai: Dubai International airport will not suffer from capacity constraints in 2014, the airports management has said, after witnessing record numbers of passenger traffic in 2013.
Last year, 66.43 million passengers passed through Dubai International airport, surpassing the 65.4 million figure forecast by the Dubai Airports management.
There have been concerns that if passenger traffic were to grow by the same percentage — 15.2% — as last year, that would exceed the airport’s current capacity of 75 million passengers a year.
However, a Dubai Airports spokesperson moved to allay concerns and told Gulf News that the airport would be able to cope with such numbers this year.
The spokesperson added that the next phase of capacity expansion is scheduled for early next year.
One expert, John Strickland, director of the UK-based aviation advisory firm JLS Consultants, told Gulf News that the airport was still well within its capacity limits. He added that the increasing use of larger aircraft such as the Airbus A380 had resulted in increased numbers per flight, but not necessarily a spike in demand for additional runway slots.
The phenomenon of airports operating in excess of their stated passenger capacity is not an oddity across the industry.
Will Horton, a senior analyst at the CAPA-Centre for Aviation, said almost all airport capacity designs can be tweaked to accommodate more passengers.
Scheduled maintenance repairs from May 1 to July 20 at Dubai International could also likely lower passenger numbers as airlines cancel or relocate flights to Al Maktoum International.
Strickland said runway repairs are an essential investment for the future, adding that Al Maktoum airport will be able to maintain some of the capacity.
But Dubai International will still face higher throughput at other points in the year, Horton said, even if the peaks are averaged down by the quiet period due to runway works.