Dubai's main airport handles a record 66 million passengers in 2013

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The operator of the Middle East’s biggest airport in Dubai says its annual passenger traffic numbers have surged 15 per cent to top the 60 million mark for the first time ever.

Dubai Airports said Wednesday that Dubai International handled 66.4 million passengers in 2013, including more than a record 6 million in December alone. That’s up from 57.7 million in 2012.

Helping drive the growth are an increased number of wide-body jets that can haul large numbers of passengers, and new destinations being added by hometown airlines Emirates and discount carrier FlyDubai.

Dubai International is the Middle East commercial hub’s main airport.

It opened a new purpose-built concourse early last year for the double-decker Airbus A380.

A second Dubai airport began operating commercial flights in October.