Dubai International airport has leapt ahead of Hong Kong’s airport to become the world’s third busiest airport.

Passenger traffic increased by 13.2 per cent, reaching 57.2 million people in 2012. A total of 50.97 million passengers passed through the airport in 2011.

Last year’s passenger traffic beat Dubai Airports’ original forecasts of 56.5 million passengers.

Passenger numbers in December last year were 13.4 per cent higher than in December 2011. A total of 5,320,961 passengers passed through the airport, making December the second month to-date that traffic exceeded five million passengers.

Freight volumes also grew at the end of 2012, boosting total traffic to 2.3 million tonnes, an increase of almost four per cent on the previous year.

The airport authority is forecasting a total of 65.4 million passengers in 2013. At the beginning of the year, Dubai International opened concourse A, the first purpose-built concourse for the large A380 aircraft. This will increase the capacity of the airport helping to meet the growing passenger demand.