Even if Dubai International Airport, which is run by the Dubai Airports group (DA), experienced a short downtick in cargo volumes this May, according to a report by Oxford Economics, Dubai has an effective aviation model and is in for rampant growth in the coming years.
Dubai International handled 187,905 tonnes in May, which represents a 0.5 percent year-over-year loss. The airport’s year-to-date tonnage total — 874,584 tonnes — is a 0.3 percent year-over-year drop.
But where cargo is very slightly slumping, passenger movements have taken off. Passenger totals were up 8.8 percent in May compared to the same month in 2010. The year-to-date passenger increase is up 8.6 percent.
“Passenger volumes are on course to top 51 million by year-end, which should put us hot on the trail of Hong Kong International as the world’s third busiest airport for international passenger traffic,” Paul Griffiths, CEO of DA, said in a statement. “By 2015, we expect to overtake London Heathrow for the No. 1 spot when passenger numbers surpass 75 million.”
Substantial passenger growth is undoubtedly good for cargo as well. But these increases didn’t just happen overnight. In “Explaining Dubai’s Aviation Model,” which was released with Emirates and DA, Oxford Economics found that Dubai’s aviation model has succeeded due to a competitive and consumer-centric culture.
Among the many findings was Dubai Airports’ role as an economic driver in the Middle East. The organization supports 250,000 jobs and contributes more than $22 billion to the local economy.
“Air travelers and shippers using Dubai and Emirates Airline make an important contribution to many national economies,” Adrian Cooper, CEO of Oxford Economics, said when commenting about his firm’s findings.
This economic prosperity is important to the region’s future growth. Aviation now comprises about 28 percent of Dubai’s GDP; Oxford analysts expect that number to rise to 32 percent by 2020. The report also found that Emirates will see substantial capacity growth in the future and that it will outpace predictions recently published by Boeing and Airbus.
“Aviation is one of the main engines driving Dubai’s emergence as a global center for trade, commerce and tourism,” Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates, said in a statement. “That is why we have created a business and regulatory environment that supports its growth by encouraging open competition between all airlines, efficient operations and customer satisfaction. There is no magic here. It’s just good business.”