Visiting the No. 1 Airport-A A +A
Check and Balance
Sunday, September 16, 2012
NICE, France -- The Dubai International Airport never ceases to amaze me whenever I pass through it or visit the desert oasis. Back in 2003, I was invited by the best-selling broadsheet newspaper Gulf News at their editorial headquarters in Dubai and I was astounded to see that the Dubai Duty Free Store had been giving away a Rolls Royce car. During my five-hour stop on my way to Nice, France last week – the same store is currently giving away an American icon – a jet black Harley Davidson motorcycle.
According to the Financial Times Group of London, the Dubai International Airport is the ‘Best Airport’ in the world followed by the one in Morocco and of course our very own Clark International Airport. Clark is adjudged as ‘Best Airport’ within an ecozone setting.
Based on what I saw, Dubai has already surpassed Singapore’s Changi International Airport and Hong Kong International because it is now the world's largest hub for international travel.
When Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum became the ruler of Dubai on October 6, 1958, his crown jewel project is the immediate creation of an airport. He anchored the development of Dubai with the airport and the rest was history. His ethos is best summed up by the much repeated quote: ‘What is good for the merchants, is good for Dubai’. Within weeks he launched a series of development projects that would bring electricity, telephones and roads to the town and create a business-friendly administration, free of red tape.
Passenger traffic at Dubai International Airport is forecast to increase by 7.2 per cent a year until 2020 and air freight by 6.7 per cent a year over the same period, according to an analysis by the operator, Dubai Airports.
The forecast increase is apparently greater than the 5.3 percent annual growth that the aircraft manufacturer Boeing has forecast for air travel in the Middle East region.
"Dubai International should become the busiest airport in the world for international passenger traffic as early as 2015 when passenger numbers are projected to exceed 75 million," said Paul Griffiths, the chief executive of Dubai Airports.
"Increased liberalization, GDP growth and increasingly affluent and mobile populations in emerging markets will combine to propel air travel growth worldwide. We are eight hours from two thirds of the world's population and on the doorstep of two of the most dynamic markets in the world - India and China,’ said Griffiths.
Equally vibrant, the Dubai-based Emirates leave other airline operators in the dust as far as the acquisition of new generation of aircraft is concerned. From Manila to Dubai, I had the chance to fly the Emirates’ Boeing 777-300 and this aircraft rocks because it’s huge and flies smoothly. As I boarded the next Airbus 340 aircraft to Nice, France – I saw the Emirates Airbus A-380 readying for take-off. The combination of Dubai International Airport and Emirates brought in unstoppable development in the small desert oasis.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 17, 2012.