Dubai Airport says it is the world’s busiest for international travel for a fifth year in a row, but Atlanta is the most-used overall

Dubai Airport says it is the world’s busiest for international travel for a fifth year in a row, but Atlanta is the most-used overall

Dubai International Airport has revealed it remains the world’s busiest for international travel.

The Middle Eastern hub said it retained its top global spot for 2018 after serving the largest number of passengers for the fifth year in a row – despite falling short of its target.

Traffic at the major transit airport rose slightly to 89.15 million passengers, up just over one per cent on the number who used the airport in 2017, it said in a statement.

Although the figure is a new record high, it fell short of the 90.3 million passengers Dubai Airport had projected for 2018.

Indians retained the top position as the most travelled people with 12.28 million passengers last year and Saudis came in second with 6.47 million travellers, overtaking Britons.

Passengers from east Europe made the largest growth with 16.7 per cent followed by the Commonwealth of Independent States and Africa, the statement said.

In 2017, traffic at the world’s busiest airport grew by 4.6 million passengers or 5.5 per cent.

Dubai’s non-oil based economy has faced a slowdown in the key real estate and tourism sectors.

Dubai International, the base for Dubai-owned carrier Emirates and its budget airline FlyDubai, overtook London’s Heathrow Airport in terms of international passengers in 2014 and has maintained its lead since.

Some 75 airlines fly into the main airport for this skyscraper-studded city, a gateway for East-West travel.

In November, the airport debuted a new ‘smart tunnel’ that uses biometric technology instead of human checks, to allow some air travellers to complete passport control in just 15 seconds.

Passengers register at a kiosk before going through smart gates that use iris recognition to let them through.

Major General Mohammed Ahmed al-Marri, director-general at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs, called it the ‘latest and most unique technology’ and says the project has been in development for four years.

For now, it’s just business and first-class passengers who can use the facilities.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia remains the world’s busiest airport overall.