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Airport1Dubai’s main airport has become the busiest international passenger hub. Until now that honour belonged to London’s Heathrow Airport.

Official figures released Tuesday show passenger traffic at Dubai International soared to more than 70.4 million last year, up 6.1 per cent from 66.4 million the previous year.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum

DXB2“This historic milestone is the culmination of over five decades of double-digit average growth,” said Dubai Airports chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum.

“The shared goal is to make Dubai a global centre of aviation and we are nearing that goal thanks to an open skies policy, a friendly business environment, Dubai’s growing attractiveness as a centre for trade, commerce and tourism, growing network connectivity due to the rapid expansion of Emirates and flydubai and timely investment in aviation infrastructure.”

CEO Paul Griffiths said the rapid growth was expected to continue this year.

“Today we are also releasing our projections for 2015 traffic at Dubai International which forecast 79 million passengers,” he said.

“We will have more flights connecting more people to more destinations.”

Dubai also has a second airport, Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central.

Construction of the second phase of that airport is now underway.

Once completed, officials say, the airport will be able to handle 160 million passengers a year. It will also have the capacity to handle 12 million tonnes of cargo.

Images are courtesy of Dubai Airports.