Dubai International Airport on Thursday welcomed its billionth passenger, marking a major milestone in its transformation from a desert airfield into an international hub connecting East and West.
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It expects to handle just over 90 million passengers this year, up from 88.2 million last year, Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports, said in November.
Driving its success is Dubai’s strategic location between Europe and Asia within an eight-hour flight radius of two thirds of the world’s population. It offers a network of 240 destinations and is home to the world’s largest long-haul carrier, Emirates.
Dubai took a long-term decision to diversify its economy in the 1980s. It focused on developing its aerospace sector as part of a push to beef up its non-oil revenue, transform the city into a business hub, create jobs and attract tourists.
Open-skies policies, large investments in infrastructure and a foreign investor-friendly business environment spurred the development of the aviation industry.
Aviation will account for 37.5 per cent of Dubai’s gross domestic product in 2020 and about 45 per cent of GDP by 2030 from 27 per cent in 2013, according to Oxford Economics.
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