Dubai Airports has announced that it expects to handle 98.5 million passengers by 2020 through both Dubai International and Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International airports. The company has forecast a 7.2% annual growth rate which would make Dubai International the busiest airport by 2015, overtaking Heathrow. The ambitious target has been set following the airports’ 15.5% average rate growth in the past 50 years and 9.1% increase during 2009. “Increased liberalisation, GDP growth and increasingly affluent and mobile populations in emerging markets will combine to propel air travel growth worldwide,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports. “Dubai is extremely well positioned to capitalise on that growth. 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. The combination of rallying tourism and Dubai’s established role as a trading hub linking economies in the Far East, Europe, Africa and North America, are also key advantages.” To meet demand, Dubai International will open a third concourse next year and Al-Maktoum will commence passenger services during 2012.