Lonely Planet Writer

Dubai airport busier than Heathrow and set to be world's busiest within ten years

Dubai is set to become the busiest airport in the world within the next decade.

Dubai International Airport is growing at such a rapid rate that if it continues it will become the busiest airport within a decade
Dubai International Airport is growing at such a rapid rate that if it continues it will become the busiest airport within a decade Image by roevin | Urban Capture / CC BY-SA 2.0

Latest figures for 2015 released this week shows it has surpassed Heathrow in London to climb to third place in the rankings, with experts predicting that if the current trends continue, it will leapfrog Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International and Beijing which are in first and second place respectively at the moment.

Armed police officers patrol inside Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport
Heathrow airport in London has been relegated to fourth place Image by Press Association

The air hub of the Middle East saw over 78 million passengers pass through its gates last year – a startling jump of 10.7% on the previous year’s figures.

Hartsfield-Jackson airport, Atlanta has been the busiest in the world since 1998
Hartsfield-Jackson airport, Atlanta has been the busiest in the world since 1998 Image by Hunter Desportes / CC BY 2.0

The Daily Telegraph reports that the latest findings by Airports Council International recorded over 100 million passengers using Atlanta International to fly – an increase of 5.1%. this means that Hartsfield-Jackson has led the way in numbers for the past 17 years. While Beijing retained the number two slot, O’Hare International in Chicago was elbowed down the league, as was Tokyo’s Haneda because of the sharp ascent of Dubai.

Others to make it into the top ten busiest are LA International, Hong Kong International, Paris Charles de Gaulle, and Dallas/Fort Worth.  These rankings are computed after the comparison of figures returned by over 1,100 airports across the globe.

This listing is different to the world’s best airports by the website Skytrax. The results in that contest are based on the opinions of millions of travellers – the current number one was recently claimed by Singapore’s Changi Airport, which has two free 24-hour cinemas, a waterfall and a butterfly garden. Incheon International was the runner-up with Munich Airport, replete with its own beer garden, next in line.