A brief chronological history of Dubai International
1959: Dubai International was established following the construction of the first airfield on a vast expanse of a wasteland some four kilometres from what was then the edge of the city. The humble facility consisted of an 1800-metre compacted runway, an apron area, a terminal building and a fire station.
1960: The airport was opened and was capable of handling aircraft up to the size of a DC-3.
1969: Dubai International accommodated nine airlines serving a total of 20 destinations. Ten years later, in December 1980 to be precise, the airport joined the International Civil Airports Organisation (ICAO) as an ordinary member.
1988: Passenger throughput at the airport increased was 4.3 million and 9.7 million in 1998.
2000: The opening of Sheikh Rashid Terminal, also known as Terminal 1, marked the start of a new chapter in Dubai’s aviation history. Built as part of the first phase of the general expansion project at a cost of AED2 billion, the Terminal increased the Airport’s capacity from 10 million to 25 million.
2002: Dubai International was ranked the second fastest growing airport in the world according to Airports Council International (ACI) traffic statistics. The facility handled around 18 million passengers in 2003 and was established as the aviation hub of the Middle East.
2007: Department of Civil Aviation is restructured leading to the formation of Dubai Airports – responsible for the development and management of Dubai’s airport(s) and Dubai Civil Aviation Authority – the local aviation regulatory body.
2008: Dubai Airports opened the much-awaited Dubai International Terminal 3 for the exclusive use of Emirates Airline. The flawless opening of the world’s largest single terminal not only expanded Dubai International’s capacity to 60 million, it won the airport accolades from passengers and the aviation industry worldwide.
2009: Passenger throughput surpasses the 40 million mark with traffic reaching 40.9 million in 2009, and Dubai International becomes the world’s fastest growing airport among top 50 major hubs.
Work begins on Concourse 3, the A380 dedicated facility for Emirates’ super jumbo fleet. The facility is expected to be ready by 2012.
Terminal 2 undergoes major refurbishment for the launch of flydubai, Dubai’s own low cost airline.
2010: Dubai Airports prepares for the opening of the first phase of Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum International (DWC) for cargo operations on June 27.
Today, Dubai International is one of the fastest growing major hubs and among the world's top 5 airports in terms of international passenger and cargo traffic.