The Dubai airport, with its small terminal building, when it was officially inaugurated on September 30, 1960. Image Credit: Supplied picture

Dubai: Dubai International Airport reaches a historic milestone when it marks its golden anniversary on Thursday, following 50 years of growth from its humble beginnings in 1960 to a global aviation hub.

In 1959, Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum ordered the construction of the airport, which comprised a 1,800-metre airstrip of compacted sand, an apron, a fire station and a small terminal building. The facility was officially inaugurated on September 30, 1960.

Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates airline and Gorup and Chairman of Dubai Airports, said: "The 50th anniversary of Dubai International is an historic milestone that marks five glorious decades of growth and achievement.

"It is a vision that has been carried forward strongly by our leader [His Highness] Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and has effectively positioned Dubai at the heart of global aviation."

The airport has welcomed over 402 million passengers at an average annual growth rate of 15.5 per cent, and handled over 3.87 million aircraft at an average annual growth rate of 12.4 per cent.