By Nadia Saleem
DUBAI, Feb 1 (Reuters) – Dubai International Airport remained the world’s busiest for international passengers in 2015 as traffic grew 10.7 percent, boosted by the addition of new airlines and routes, the airport’s operator said on Monday.
Annual traffic rose to 78 million passengers from 70.5 million in 2014. In the month of December alone, traffic climbed 8.5 percent to 7.05 million people.
The addition of 12 new passenger destinations from Dubai International lifted traffic through the airport as local carriers Emirates and flydubai expanded. Air Canada, Germany’s Eurowings and China Southern also began operating in Dubai.
Last year saw regional tensions and conflicts in countries including Yemen, Iraq and Syria, but Dubai Airports Chief Executive Paul Griffiths said in a telephone interview: “We haven’t seen any impact from regional conflicts.”
Dubai initially overtook London’s Heathrow to become the world’s busiest airport for international traffic in 2014. Heathrow saw 75.0 million passengers pass through its doors in 2015, up 2.2 percent, according to figures on its website.
India retained its position as Dubai’s single largest destination country in 2015 with 10.4 million passengers, up 17 percent.
The airport operator is currently testing its new $1.2 billion Concourse D, which will accommodate foreign airlines that now use Concourse C, giving Emirates room to grow.
Concourse D is expected to start operating this quarter; Griffiths said the exact date would depend on the results of a public trial set to begin in a few days.
Cargo volumes at Dubai International grew 3.4 percent to 2.51 million tonnes last year despite the transfer of all pure cargo operations to the new Dubai World Central airport. December freight volumes rose 5 percent year-on-year to 218,408 tonnes, the operator said.