Dubai's airport is not like most airports; it's got an endless list of cuisines to choose from, free showers to freshen up at, and a spa to help you rejuvenate before your next flight. So, to see it on a list of "best airports for layovers" or a list of the world's "most connected airport" shouldn't really catch you off guard.
The OAG Megahubs Index 2019 recently released a ranking of the 50 most internationally connected airports in the world. The list compares the number of scheduled connections to and from international destinations with the number of destinations from the respective airport.
London's Heathrow Airport maintained its position as the No.1 spot in terms of connectivity for the third consecutive year. The airport was followed by Germany's Frankfurt Airport (No. 2) and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (No. 3).
Dubai's airport outranked others in the region
When juxtaposed with other airports in the Arab world, Dubai International Airport (DXB) ranked first in terms of international connectivity. The airport ranked 24th globally and is the only airport from the Arab world to make it to the Top 50.
However, OAG released a separate list of the top international megahubs by region, treating the Middle East and Africa as one entity. In the regional ranking, Dubai ranked first, followed by South Africa's O.R. Tambo International Airport (No. 2), Qatar's Hamad International Airport (No. 3), Saudi Arabia's Riyadh Airport (No. 4), and Ethiopia's Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (No. 5).
Dubai has been embracing its "busy status" for quite some time now.
In just the first half of 2019, 41.3 million passengers passed through the airport, maintaining its position as the world's largest international airport by traffic volume. In 2018, the airport had 89.1 million passengers passing through. It was ranked the "busiest airport for international travelers" ... a title it's held since 2014.
Dubai International Airport is poised to become the busiest airport in the world by the end of this decade, and it's definitely been heading in the right direction. In December, the airport marked its billionth traveler, a 9-year-old kid identified as Arjun.
Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid announced the achievement via Twitter at the time.
"Dubai International Airport received its one billionth passenger today, marking a new phase in its journey towards a bright future. One billion passengers have made DXB a part of their personal story and helped shape Dubai into a global hub," he wrote.
The airport has been around since the 60s
Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the former ruler of Dubai, ordered the construction of the airport in 1959 and it was operational by 1960. The original airport had a sand runway.
Over decades, the airport has achieved enormous success and international traffic. A new development master plan for the airport was launched in 1997, which saw the opening of Terminal 2 by 1998. This was a massive step forward in opening up the airport to significantly increased international traffic. This was followed by the opening of Terminal 3 in 2008, which added capacity for some 47 million additional passengers, transforming the airport into the international hub it is today.
According to The National, it took the airport 51 years to mark its 500 millionth passenger, but only an additional seven years to get that number up to 1 billion. Dubai's airport has consistently been ranked as one of the best in the world. In July 2016, Travel and Leisure ranked Dubai International Airport as No. 2 in the world. The airport was also named as the best in the Middle East by the Asian Freight, Logistics, and Supply Chain Awards that same year.