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International (DXB)

Dubai International (DXB) is the primary international airport for Dubai and the UAE, connecting more than 240 destinations across 6 continents with nearly 100 airlines. The airport has three major terminals and four concourses. With its current capacity, DXB can accommodate 115 million passengers annually.

DXB is the world’s number one airport for international passenger traffic.

About DXB

Transforming Dubai International into the world’s busiest aviation hub

In 1960, Dubai International (DXB) was founded as the city’s first airport, with a single 1,800 metre runway made of compacted sand. The airport had served mainly as a refuelling stop for planes up to the size of a DC-3.

Since then, Dubai’s leadership has driven the growth of DXB as an airport and the aviation sector as a whole. With a series of strategic expansion and development projects through the DAEP, the airport has grown in terms of passenger and cargo handling capacity, number of plane movements, the network of connected destinations, as well as operational efficiency. Two key projects were the additions of Terminal 2, which increased passenger capacity by 2 million, and then Terminal 3, which increased it to 60 million.

DXB has retained the title of the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic since 2014 with the capacity reaching to 115 million passengers per year. DXB also ranks among the top ten International cargo hubs by freight volume with annual capacity of 3.3 million tonnes. 

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Airport Timeline
  • 1960 - A single runway made of compacted sand is laid at Dubai International (DXB), capable of receiving planes the size of a Douglas DC-3.

  • 1970s - DXB expands with a new-three storey terminal, a control tower and more taxiways.

  • 1984 - A second runway opens at the airport.

  • 1998 - Terminal 2 opens, increasing the airport’s annual capacity by 2 million passengers.

  • 2000 - Terminal 1 opens, increasing the annual capacity of the airport from 10 to 23 million passengers.

  • 2001 - Emirates launches freight operations from DXB, connecting supply chains across 80 countries and 300 destinations.

  • 2002 - Airports Council International (ACI) ranks DXB the world's second fastest growing airport. The airport handles 18 million passengers the following year.

  • 2008 - Terminal 3 opens, increasing DXB’s passenger capacity to 60 million and setting the record for the largest terminal in the world.

  • 2009 - DXB becomes the world’s fastest growing airport. Terminal 2 is upgraded for the launch of flydubai. Dubai Duty Free becomes the world’s largest duty-free retailer, reporting over USD 1 billion in revenue.

  • 2013 - A record 66.4 million passengers travel through DXB, 15.2% higher than 2012. Al Maktoum International (DWC) opens its doors to passenger flights in October. Concourse A, the world's largest purpose-built facility for A380 aircraft, opens.

  • 2014 - For the first time, DXB surpasses London Heathrow Airport as the world’s busiest hub for international passenger traffic.

  • 2016 - Concourse D, the airport's $1.2 billion state-of-the-art facility, starts operating out of Terminal 1 to serve 70 international airlines.

  • 2018 - DXB welcomes its one billionth passenger.

  • 2019 - For the fifth consecutive year, DXB retains the title of the world's busiest airport for international passengers.

  • 2020 - For the 6th consecutive year, DXB retains its position as the world’s number one hub for international passengers with annual traffic for 2019 reaching 86.4 million – 6 million more than the nearest rival, London Heathrow.

  • 2021 - Despite Covid-19 challenges Dubai airport retains its position for the 7th consecutive year as the world’s number one hub for international passengers with annual traffic of 25.9 million passengers in 2020.

  • 2022 - Dubai International Airport continues to be the world’s busiest airport by international passenger numbers for the 8th consecutive year with 29.1 million in annual traffic in 2021.

  • 2023 - Dubai International Airport held its position as the world’s number one airport for international passengers for the 9th year with annual traffic of 66.1m in 2022.

  • 2024 - In 2023, DXB continues to be the busiest global airport by international passengers for the tenth consecutive year, and has become the second busiest airport in the world for the first time, moving up 5 places from its 2022 position, after welcoming 87 million passengers.

Highlighted Projects
Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects is responsible for the design, master-planning, infrastructure development and construction of Dubai’s dynamic aviation sector.
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