Dubai International's Terminal 3 Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai International saw through over 78 million passengers in 2015, more than enough to retain its title of the world’s busiest airport for international passengers, operator Dubai Airports said on Monday.

A total of 78,014,838 passengers passed through the airport in the 12 months to December 31, 2015, a 10.7 per cent increase on the 70,473,893 passengers that used the airport a year earlier.

Dubai International’s closest rival, London’s Heathrow, handled 69.8 million international passengers and a total of 74,959,000 passengers including domestic in 2015.

Dubai Airports Chief Executive Paul Griffiths said 2015 was “another banner year” for the airport, according to Monday’s statement.

Griffiths also said the $1.2 billion Concourse D, part of Terminal 1, will open this quarter.

India, UK strongest markets

India was once again Dubai’s strongest market in 2015 with 10,391,376 passengers, up 17 per cent compared to 2014, travelling on routes between the country and emirate.

The United Kingdom was the second largest market for passengers travelling through Dubai International with 5,682,307 passengers, up 6 per cent, and closely followed by Saudi Arabia with 5,466,358 passengers, up 12 per cent.

Doha retained its top spot as the most popular city destination served from Dubai International with 2,782,600 passengers, up 18 per cent, followed by London with 2,659,602 passengers, up 1 per cent, and Mumbai up 14 per cent with 2,214,221 passengers.

In terms of percentage growth, Dubai Airports said Emirates network expansion and launching of additional routes to North America saw the region grow by 25 per cent year-on-year for passengers, followed by the Gulf Cooperation Council states, up 15 per cent, and Asia growing by 12 per cent.

Full-year passenger numbers were helped by a strong December when the airport handled 7,053,243 passengers, an increase of 8.5 per cent compared to the same month in 2014.

December was the second time in 2015 when passenger traffic exceeded 7 million.

August was the other month. The solid December figures also saw the average monthly passenger traffic hit a record high for the airport of 6.5 million.


Cargo volumes at Dubai International continued to grow in 2015, despite all dedicated freighter services moving to the emirates second airport Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC) in 2014, Dubai Airports said.

Dubai International handled 2,506,092 tonnes of air freight, up 3.4 per cent. December freighter volumes rose 5 per cent to 214,408 tonnes.

In 2015, Dubai International saw new airlines start flying to the airport including Air Canada launching flights from Toronto, Eurowings from Cologne and China Southern from Wuhan.

The airport was also connected to 12 new passengers destination, which Dubai Airports attributed to the growth of home carriers Emirates and flydubai.