The boss of Dubai's airports company has said he’s “not worried” about the opening of Qatar’s new state-of-the-art facility stealing his passenger traffic.
“I’m not worried about competition from any other airport,” Paul Griffiths told Arabian Business in an exclusive interview.
“I think it all serves to enhance the global standing of the Middle East as an inter-continental hub.
“We are competing in the world market, which is a massive market of ... about 6.3 billion travellers worldwide and it’s still growing, so it’s a massive market and I don’t believe we’re losing traffic to other Middle Eastern hubs.
“I think the Middle Eastern hubs are gaining traffic from other more congested and less conveniently located hubs in other parts of the world.”
Hamad International Airport – a mere 45 minutes flight time from Dubai - opened in Doha on April 30 after years of delays. It is planned to have a capacity of 50 million when the second phase is completed – triple the size of the old airport.
Dubai International is nearing its capacity of 90 million but the emirate’s second airport, Al Maktoum at Dubai World Central, which launched commercial flights in October 2013, will be the largest airport in the world at 160 million when it is completed sometime next decade.
Griffiths said the region was becoming a global aviation hub for transiting travellers and he “welcomed” additional capacity.
“If you think of airports in the conventional sense, of deriving their traffic from their local market, you could suggest that the amount of airport capacity being developed in this part of the world is very considerable, [and question] ‘what’s going on here?’, because the relationship between population and airport capacity seem to be very much out of kilter,” he said.
“What I would say, though, is that the reality of the situation is that the Middle East is in the absolute perfect location to be the inter-continental hub for the world. There so many cities that can be logically joined through the Middle East.
“What we’re doing for 40 percent of our traffic is opening up Dubai and those markets for new travellers. For 60 percent of the travelling public on services to and from Dubai we’re providing convenient connections between two points that don’t [that don’t have direct connections].
“For that you need such a tiny shift of market share in those markets, [so] I’m not worried about competition from any other airport; in fact I think it all serves to enhance the global standing of the Middle East as an inter-continental hub, so I welcome it.”
Dubai International is the fastest growing airport in the world and was the busiest during the first quarter of 2014, overtaking London’s Heathrow for the first time.
Photo: ILQ (George Delfino)
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