Dubai International Airport (Arabic: مطار دبي الدولي) is the primary international airport serving Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and is the world’s busiest airport by international passenger traffic.
It is also the nineteenth-busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic, one of the busiest cargo airports globally, the busiest airport for Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 movements, and the airport with the highest average number of passengers per flight.
In 2017, DXB handled 88 million passengers and 2.65 million tonnes of cargo and registered 409,493 aircraft movements.
The Dubai International Airport is located in Al Garhoud, 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 km; 2.9 mi) east of Dubai and spread over 7,200 acres (2,900 ha).
Terminal 3 is the second-largest building in the world by floor space and the largest airport terminal in the world.
In July 2019, Dubai International airport installed the most extensive solar energy system in the region’s airports as part of Dubai’s goal to reduce 30 percent of the city’s energy consumption by 2030.
Emirates Airline has its hub airport in Dubai International (DXB) and has its own terminal 3 with three concourses with flydubai.
The Emirates hub is the largest airline hub in the Middle East; Emirates handles 51% of all passenger traffic and accounts for approximately 42% of all aircraft movements at the airport.
Dubai Airport is also the base for low-cost carrier flydubai, which handles 13% of passenger traffic and 25% of aircraft movements at DXB.
The airport has a total capacity of 90 million passengers annually.
As of January 2016, over 7,700 weekly flights are operated by 140 airlines to over 270 destinations across all inhabited continents.
Over 63% of travelers using the airport in 2018 were connecting passengers.
Dubai International is an essential contributor to the Dubai economy, as it employs approximately 90,000 people, indirectly supports over 400,000 jobs, and contributes over US$26.7 billion to the economy, which represents around 27 percent of Dubai’s GDP and 21% of the employment in Dubai.
It is predicted that by 2020, the economic contribution of Dubai’s aviation sector will rise to 37.5% of the city’s GDP. By 2030, the economic impact of aviation is projected to grow to $88.1 billion and support 1.95 million jobs in Dubai or 44.7% of the GDP and 35.1% of the total employment.
History of Dubai International Airport
The history of civil aviation in Dubai started in July 1937 when an air agreement was signed for a flying boat base for the aircraft of Imperial Airways with the rental of the ground at about 440 rupees per month—this included the guards’ wages.
The Empire Flying Boats also started operating once a week, flying east to Karachi and west to Southampton, England.
By February 1938, there were four flying boats a week.
In the 1940s, flying from Dubai was by boats operated by British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), using the Horseshoe route from Southern Africa via the Persian Gulf to Sydney.
Construction of Dubai International Airport
Construction of the airport was ordered by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, in 1959. It officially opened in 1960 with its first airfield, at which time it was able to handle aircraft the size of a Douglas DC-3 on a 1,800-metre-long (5,900 ft) runway made of compacted sand.
Three turning areas, an apron, and a small terminal completed the airport that Costain constructed.
In May 1963, construction of a 9,200-foot (2,800 m) asphalt runway started.
This new runway, alongside the original sand runway and taxiway, opened in May 1965, together with several new extensions were added to the Terminal Building, hangars erected, Airport and Navigational aids were installed.
The installation of the lighting system continued after the official opening and was completed in August of that year.
During the second half of the 1960s, several extensions and equipment upgrades like a VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) and an instrument landing system (ILS) and new buildings were constructed.
By 1969, the airport was served by nine airlines operating some 20 destinations.
The Ruler of Dubai had already foreseen.
The inauguration was on 15 May 1966 and was marked by the visits of the first big jets of Middle East Airlines and Kuwait Airways Comets.
The advent of wide-body aircraft required further airport development in the 1970s, which had already been foreseen by the Ruler of Dubai, and plans for a new Terminal, runways, and taxiways capable of coping with international flights were drawn up.
New terminal building consisting of a three-story building with an enclosed area of 13,400 m2 (144,000 sq ft) and 110 m (360 ft) long.
In addition, a new 28 m (92 ft) control tower was constructed.
Expansion continued in the early 1970s, including ILS Category II equipment, lengthening the existing runway to 12,500 ft (3,810 m), installing a non-directional beacon (NDB), diesel generators, taxiways, etc.
This work made handling the Boeing 747 and Concorde possible.
There were numerous runway extensions and apron extensions built to meet growing demand during this decade.
1971 saw the new precision category 2 Approach and Runway Lighting System being commissioned.
The construction of the Airport Fire Station and the installation of the generators were completed in December of that year and were fully operational in March 1972. The ruler also commissioned and inaugurated the Long-range Surveillance System on 19 June 1973.
With the expansion of the Airport Fire Services, it was necessary to find more suitable accommodation, and a hangar-style building was made available to them at the end of 1976. This was located midway between the runway ends to facilitate efficient operations.
A new building was also constructed to house the Airport Maintenance Engineer, Electronics Engineering section, and Stores unit.
Expansion of the Airport Restaurant and Transit Lounge, including refurbishing the upper level and providing a new kitchen, was completed in December 1978.
The next development phase was the second runway, which was completed three months ahead of schedule and opened in April 1984. This runway, located 360 m (1,180 ft) north of the existing runway and parallel to it, is equipped with the latest meteorological, airfield lighting, and instrument landing systems to give the airport a Category II classification.
Also, several extensions and upgrades of terminal facilities and supporting systems were carried out.
On 23 December 1980, the airport became an ordinary Airports Council International (ACI) member.
During the 1980s, Dubai was a stopping point for Air India, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, and others traveling between Asia and Europe that needed a refueling point in the Persian Gulf.
This use was later made redundant with the availability of Russian airspace due to the breakup of the Soviet Union and the advent of longer-range aircraft introduced in the late 1980s and early 1990s,The new such as the Airbus A340, the Boeing 747-400, and the Boeing 777 series aircraft, which had the range to fly between Europe and Southeast Asia nonstop.
British Airways flights from Islamabad to Manchester also stopped for short times during the 1980s.