Dubai is the gateway to the world
As a major aviation hub, Dubai offers an airport capacity and range of air connections unrivalled in the Middle East, making it the perfect location to connect Europe, Asia and Africa.
Positioned between the Far East and Europe on an east-west axis and the CIS and Africa from north to south, Dubai has always been naturally-located as a central business location. This goes back to its sea-trading history, positioned half-way along the famously-named Silk Road trade route, which ran from China through to the Mediterranean Sea.
While the advantages of Dubai’s global location remain the same, in other ways things have changed dramatically – largely through the benefits of air travel. Today it has a potential market of more than 2 billion people within just four hours travelling time.
According to reports, 83.6 million passengers passed through Dubai’s airports in 2016. Dubai International Airport has already overtaken London Heathrow as the world’s busiest airport for international travellers.
Further building its capacity, October 2013 saw the opening of Al Maktoum International Airport-Dubai World Central (DWC), which is expected to be the world’s largest once completed, and will be part of a huge logistics hub. Covering an area of 140sqkm (almost twice the size of Hong Kong Island), Dubai World Central is an economic zone within itself.
Current operations at Al Maktoum International Airport are comparatively small, but with a planned annual capacity of 12 million tonnes of cargo and 160 million passengers, it is set to transform the UAE and wider region into one of the most powerful global centres for commerce, logistics and tourism.
Dubai’s expanding global network, in terms of both destinations and international airlines, has fast-tracked its aviation growth further, with more than 240 cities worldwide serviced by more than 90 airlines.
With relatively short flying distances to both Asia and Europe, there is significant and growing connectivity in terms of transit passengers moving through its airports and the growing number of airlines moving in and out. The capacity Dubai has created within its airports means it has no foreseeable restrictions on passenger numbers for some years to come.
A growing number of the airlines flying in and out of Dubai’s airports are low-cost, effectively bringing down the costs of travelling to the city. Wizz Air, Central and Eastern Europe’s largest low-cost airline, flies into Al Maktoum International Airport and has provided Dubai with its first low-cost route into Europe. Turkish low-cost carrier, Pegasus, flies into Dubai International Airport Terminal 1. Dubai’s own airlines have adopted aggressive route network expansion strategies.
Emirates, the city’s flagship carrier, continuously adds new destinations worldwide, currently flying to more than 150 across six continents. Dubai’s low-cost carrier, flydubai, which was founded in 2008, services around 80 destinations, which span in every direction into the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, Russia, the CIS countries and Africa.
The bulk of international corporations that have made direct investments into the region choose to be headquartered in Dubai, because the city has a growing portfolio of international events. Over past years it has been host to congresses such as the IMF and World Bank, and a number of high profile conferences are lined up in sectors such as healthcare, energy, and aviation.
Supported by Dubai’s own highly-developed business and hotel infrastructure, the city’s position as a central hub for international travel remains secure for the foreseeable future.