This week: Dubai becomes world’s busiest airport & more

Happy New Year, dear readers – we’re back! Let’s get straight into it – here are our topics from this week:

The new year started well for Dubai airport as it was poised to overtake London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) as the world’s busiest. According to the Guardian Heathrow has lost its crown as the busiest airport in the world for international passenger traffic. The oil-rich Gulf city of Dubai has knocked London off the top spot, figures from the Airports Council International show. The article continues by saying that a total of 68.9 million passengers had passed through Dubai International (DXB) compared with 67.8 million at Heathrow as of December 22, despite a late slowdown in traffic with one important destination, trouble-hit Russia. We at LateDeparture have always predicted this – especially with the continuing constraints on airports in Southern England. Let’s see whether some hard facts accelerate talks about the expansion of Heathrow (read 3rd runway) or – less likely – an entirely new airport for London.

Then earlier this week nearly 40 British Airways passengers have been stranded at Mumbai Airport (BOM) after they missed a connecting flight. According to the BBC one passenger said children and disabled people were among those forced to sleep on the floor after delays affected the connecting flight from Goa. BA told the news broadcaster that alternative flights had been found and the last passengers should leave on Tuesday.

Moving on to Africa where Kenya got into the headlines last Sunday when a crash-landing lead to the closure of the country’s largest airport. The BBC wrote that Kenyan Airports Authority said a Fokker 50 turboprop plane carrying six people had touched down on its belly after the landing gear failed. All flights into Nairobi Airport (NBO) were being diverted to the port city of Mombasa. Later on Sunday, airport officials said that the plane had been removed and the runway reopened.

And to finish the first post in the New Year, we found a lovely story in Business Insiders covering a homeless man that spends his nights at Madrid airport. The article says that Madrid Barajas Adolfo Suarez Airport (MAD), Europe’s fifth-busiest with 40 million passengers a year, is a public space, so authorities let the homeless sleep there as long as they cause no trouble. Edu as the article calls the portrayed man earns a few Euros by pushing trolleys around for passengers or helping them find the right check-in desks. In the article he is quoted saying “You see a lot of people in the street begging, but I would never do that.” And he finishes with “I have had lots of my clothes stolen. I feel bad,” he says, wiping away tears. “I have nothing.”.  So next time you travel through Madrid and see Edu why not let him push your trolley for a few Euros?

That’s all for this week – safe travels!

[Photo Credit: Elmar Bajora Photography via Compfight cc]