The Associated Press is reporting that Dubai International Airport has been creeping up the aviation traffic rankings for years, fueled by the rapid expansion of Emirates and low-cost carrier FlyDubai. Both airlines and the airport are owned by the emirate’s government.
The most recent figures compiled by Airports Council International, covering the past 12 months through March 2014, show that Dubai — at least for now — has Heathrow beat for the crown of most international passenger traffic. It ended 2013 in second place behind the European hub.
DIA, the world’s largest international airport, reportedly handled 66.4 million passengers last year, but is still not the world’s busiest. That honor goes to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Expansions and improvements at DIA are already underway: A new concourse that will be connected to an existing terminal by automated train is due to open in the first three months of next year. The construction has caused a quarter of the airport’s flights to be redirected for a little less than three months. (Many of these, the story notes, went to Dubai’s newest airport, Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central, which will be much larger than Dubai International with an eventual capacity of 160 million passengers.