Posted by Bob Brunskill
Dubai International Airport is today (September 30th) celebrating its golden anniversary following 50 years of rapid growth.
The airport, which has welcomed over 402 million passengers during its lifetime at an impressive average annual growth rate of 15.5 per cent, was officially inaugurated on September 30th, 1960 as an 1,800-metre airstrip of compacted sand, an apron, a fire station and a small terminal building.
Starting with annual traffic of a few thousand passengers during its first year of operation, Dubai International is now on course to surpass 46 million passengers in 2010 and approach 100 million by the end of the decade, Dubai Airports says.
To accommodate its rapid expansion, the airport opened the world's single largest terminal building, Dubai International Emirates Terminal 3, in October 2008, taking the airport's capacity to 60 million passengers per annum.
"In 50 years Dubai International has evolved from a small airstrip mainly serving as a refuelling stop for a few airlines with just over ten thousand passengers to an international gateway for 130 airlines that is ranked among the world's top hubs for international passenger and freight traffic," said Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Airports.
The body says building work at the airport is currently on track for what will be the world's largest A380 dedicated facility upon its completion in 2012, thereby increasing Dubai International's capacity to 75 million passengers per annum.