Dubai Airports CEO, Paul Griffiths, announced he expects the Dubai International Airport to become the busiest airport in the world for international passenger traffic as early as 2015, when it is expected to handle 75 million international passengers (Reuters/AFP, 04-May-2011). Mr Griffiths said Dubai Airports expects the total number of passengers travelling through Dubai’s airports, Dubai International and the new Al Maktoum International, to increase 7.2% each year until 2020, which will see the airport system 98.5 million passengers by 2020. This figure would be double what the airport achieved its 2010 figure of 47.2 million. Over the past 50 years, passenger traffic has increased at an average annual rate of 15.5%. “Increased liberalisation, GDP growth and increasingly affluent and mobile populations in emerging markets will combine to propel air travel growth worldwide,” he said. Mr Griffiths also identified the combination of rallying tourism and Dubai’s established role as a trading hub linking economies in the Far East, Europe, Africa and North America, as key advantages. Concourse 3 at Dubai International, which will be wholly dedicated to A380 aircraft, is shceduled to open in 2012, when Al Maktoum International will also commence passenger services. Home carrier Emirates has 90 A380s on firm order and said recently it could “easily” increase the order to 120. Cargo volumes are expected to grow 7.2% annually over the period, which will see the airport handle 4.1 million tonnes of air freight by 2020.
Dubai to become world’s busiest international airport by 2015: CEO
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Malaysia Airlines is planning to set up a new airline to operate its A380 fleet on religious pilgrimage charters to Saudi Arabia. All six of the airline’s A380s will be reconfigured from 386 to up to 700 seats by the end of 2018, and transferred to a new operator's certificate.
Malaysia Airlines is hoping to attract a combination of foreign and local investors to take control of the planned new airline and all six A380s. The group is calling the plan “Project Hope” – an appropriate name given its current predicament with the A380 fleet.
The flag carrier’s A380 operation has been highly unprofitable and the aircraft is too big for operation to London – its only remaining long-haul route. Malaysia Airlines is now committed to acquiring six A350s, which will be used to replace the A380 on London. As selling or subleasing the A380s is not possible given the virtually non-existent demand for the type, establishing a new charter airline is the only sensible option – although still with some risk, given the need to find investors.