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Interview: Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports

01 April 2019
Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports. Source: Peter Shaw-Smith

The growth agenda of Dubai International Airport (DXB) is gathering momentum, as operator Dubai Airports continues to extract efficiencies from its main facility.

Dubai Airports’ aim is for DXB to handle 120 million passengers by 2022. Speaking to Jane’s , CEO Paul Griffiths refused to give a longer-term forecast. “We’re now working on a programme which will take our capacity beyond that, but we haven’t actually finalised it,” he said.

“We continue to take a view that the aviation industry is growing. I think the global economy is a little bit ‘soft’ at the moment so the rate of growth is slower. We were just short of 90 million last year at 89.1 million.”

DXB increased its passenger traffic by 1% last year, and total throughput at Dubai Airports assets exceeded 90 million for the first time, although throughput dipped slightly to 900,000 at Al Maktoum International (DWC).

“Growth is on the agenda but the focus [today] is really trying to get a wholesale uplift in the quality of the experience because I think aviation is becoming an increasingly competitive business,” Griffiths remarked. “There are a lot of technical changes … in aircraft at the moment. We want to make sure that we’re at the forefront of that because Dubai’s reputation as one of the world’s most progressive cities is hanging on it.”

A rebranding of DXB in February 2019 underlined Dubai’s talent for self-promotion, and was not the only thing to please the CEO. “When we recently relaunched our brand, we had the presence of the Ruler, the Ruler’s uncle, and the Crown Prince (the Ruler’s son) – all three of them present. What airport in the world could claim that they’ve had the three most important people in the country attend a brand launch? That’s quite an accolade for us as an organisation,” he said.

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