Dubai will overtake Heathrow 'in 2 to 3 years'

11/12/2012 - Dubai Investment News Posted by Neil King
Dubai will overtake Heathrow 'in 2 to 3 years'
A leading figure in the aviation industry believes that Dubai International Airport is on the verge of becoming the biggest on the planet.Head of International Airlines Group - the parent company of British Airways - Willie Walsh suggested the UAE facility could be the largest in the world within two or three years.Speaking to the House of Commons Transport Committee in the UK, Mr Walsh highlighted just how rapidly Dubai's main airport has grown in the past decade and it is now giving London's famous Heathrow complex a serious run for its money in terms of size and stature.In 2001, Dubai International Airport was ranked as the 99th biggest aviation facility on earth, but by 2010 it had moved up to 13th.Last year it had risen to fourth in the list and if this rate of expansion continues, it seems to be just a matter of time before it tops the standings.Mr Walsh was clearly frustrated with the apparent lack of action from UK politicians and he thinks extra capacity is needed at Heathrow.While Dubai is the busiest emirate, plenty of passengers also enter the UAE via Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.In fact, up to 80 million people are expected to visit the country in 2012, which is a staggering statistic.It has been a phenomenal year for Dubai International Airport and numerous records have been broken.Around 4.92 million visitors passed through the facility in October alone, which was a 14.3 per cent increase on the corresponding month in 2011.The complex also welcomed 47.5 million passengers in the first ten months of 2012 - up by 13.5 per cent on the previous year.Major expansion work is underway and is set to be completed in 2013. This will ensure the airport's capacity rises from 60 million a year to 75 million.With tourism chiefs predicting even higher visitor numbers in the coming years, it seems Dubai is well on course to becoming the world's most important aviation hub.