Dubai International (DXB) retained its status as the world’s busiest international airport in December with 35.42 lakh seats, according to the UK-based global travel data provider OAG. Dubai is comprehensively ahead of the second-ranked London’s Heathrow Airport with over a million more seat capacity.
DXB returned to 100% operational capacity in mid-December with all terminals, concourses, lounges, restaurants, and retail outlets operating after the opening of the final phase of Concourse A at Terminal 3, which was expected to serve more than 16 lakh passengers in the second half of December in the peak seasonal travel period.
|1||Dubai International Airport||35.42L|
|2||London Heathrow Airport||25.06L|
|3||Amsterdam Schiphol Airport||24.26L|
|4||Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport||22.83L|
|6||Frankfurt International Airport||20.43L|
|7||Doha Hamad International Airport||17.65L|
|8||Madrid Adolfo Suarez-Barajas Airport||15.17L|
|9||New York J F Kennedy International Airport||13.38L|
|10||Miami International Airport||11.29L|
Dubai airport traffic reached 1.06 crore passengers in the first half of 2021 and it was expected that the numbers would reach 2.89 crores by the end of 2021.
According to OAG data, other airports that made to the top 10 busiest international airports include Paris Charles de Gaulle at 22.83 lakh seats, Istanbul at 20.95 lakh, Frankfurt International at 20.43 lakh, Doha at 17.65 lakh, Madrid Adolfo Suarez-Barajas at 15.17 lakh, New York JF Kennedy Airport at 13.38 lakh and Miami International Airport at 11.29 lakh.
The busiest international airports rankings are based on scheduled capacity in December and compared to the equivalent month in 2019, pre-pandemic. The top 10 busiest international airports are calculated using international seats only while the top 10 busiest airports in the world are calculated using total capacity — both domestic and international.
DXB was ranked second among the world’s 10 busiest global airports by seats (both domestic and international) in December, jumping one position when compared to 2019.
|3||DXB-LHR||Dubai -London Heathrow||253,567|
|4||JFK-LHR||New York JFK-London Heathrow||222,890|
|10||KUL-SIN||Kuala Lumpur-Singapore Changi||155,786|
Dubai has seen capacity increased by 15%, adding almost 5 lakh seats in December, and has moved up from 7th busiest in November to the second busiest global airport in December. There is just one Chinese airport in the top 10, Guangzhou in 4th place, as Shenzhen drops out of the rankings. The US airports dominate the top 10 global airports list.
Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International airport topped with 44.19 lakh seats followed by Dubai International at 35.42 lakh seats, Dallas/Fort Worth International at 35.32 lakh, Guangzhou at 35.13 lakh, Delhi at 33.48 lakh, Tokyo International or Haneda at 33.47 lakh, Chicago O’Hare International at 33.45 lakh, Los Angeles International at 32.77 lakh, Denver International at 32.31 lakh and Miami International at 27.49 lakh.
In November, Delhi Airport was busier than Dubai International Airport (DXB) in terms of combined domestic and international seat capacity deployed by airlines. But with onset of winter comes phase of bad visibility which restricts flight operations in norther regions of Indian subcontinent. Additionally rapid spread of Omicron variant has played greater role in reduced passenger load factor of Indian airlines. As a result, Delhi has dropped out of the ranking list in December.
Moving forward into 2022, while Dubai’s Mega Airport undisputedly will look to hold on to the busiest airport of the world tag. As for others, multiple factors ranging from pandemic and financial health to government policy will decide passenger growth.