A record number of travellers passed through Dubai International Airport in the first half of the year.

A total of 32.6 million people used the hub, which became the world’s second busiest international airport in March after overtaking Paris-Charles de Gaulle.

Dubai is expected to overtake the world’s current busiest international airport, Heathrow, by 2015. The London airport clocked up 34.4 million travelers in first six months of the year, a rise of 2.4 per cent. By comparison, passenger numbers in Dubai increased by almost 17 per cent.

In Dubai, cargo volumes were also up by more than 10 per cent during the first half and 3.6 per cent in June compared to the same period in 2012.

“The first half this year has been very satisfying with double-digit growth across all markets, boosted by the launch of 84 new services to 25 destinations,” said Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports.

“A major driver of growth was Emirates airline’s tie-up with Qantas and consequent launch of the Australian carrier’s operations into Dubai.”

Dubai handled a total of 5,537,908 passengers in June, a 17.5 per cent rise on the same period in 2012.

The top five country destinations in June were India, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Australia and Pakistan.

Australia topped the list in terms of percentage growth at 44.4 per cent, followed by Saudi Arabia at 35 per cent, the UK at 21.9 per cent and India at 21 per cent.

The GCC saw the largest increase in total passenger numbers, followed by Western Europe and the Indian subcontinent. South America was the only region to record a fall in traffic in June.

Passenger traffic at Dubai International is expected to surpass 65.4 million this year.

“A number of major events are lined up for the remainder of the year, including the opening of the passenger operations at Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International in October followed by the Dubai Airshow 2013 in November, making the second half even more promising,” said Mr Griffiths.

source: http://www.thenational.ae