Dubai International Airport (DXB) will reach a major milestone tomorrow when it celebrates its 50th anniversary.
It seems hard to believe now, but when the airport began life half-a-century ago it boasted little more than a single 1,800-metre runway made of compacted sand and a small terminal building.
Indeed, the 2008 opening of its state-of-the-art Terminal 3 means that DXB is now equipped to handle more than 60mppa.
“The 50th anniversary of Dubai International Airport is an historic milestone that marks five glorious decades of growth and achievement, thanks to the vision of the late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who understood the amazing potential of aviation and took the initiative to build the airport and promote an open skies policy,” says HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, and Chairman of Dubai Airports.”
Facts and figures wise, in the half-century since its opening, DXB has welcomed over 402 million passengers at an impressive average annual growth rate of 15.5%, and handled over 3.87 million aircraft movements at an average annual growth rate of 12.4%.
Cargo has also soared dramatically, particularly over the last 30 years, when tonnage throughput risen by a average of 14.3% per annum.
“In 50 years Dubai International Airport 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,” adds Sheikh Ahmed.
“Passenger numbers will surpass 46 million in 2010 and approach 100 million by the end of the decade. We have indeed come a long way.”