Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 26 May 2019

DXB passenger tally drops in first quarter on grounded Boeing planes and Easter timing

Number of passenger flights dropped 3% partly due to Boeing 737 Max grounding

Dubai International posted a 2.2 per cent drop in first quarter passenger traffic on fewer flights and changed Easter holiday timings. . Alamy
Dubai International posted a 2.2 per cent drop in first quarter passenger traffic on fewer flights and changed Easter holiday timings. . Alamy

Dubai International Airport recorded a 2.2 per cent drop in passenger traffic during the first quarter of this year mainly due to fewer flights after the grounding of Boeing 737 Max jets and a shift in the timing of Easter holidays.

The world's busiest hub by international traffic handled 22.2 million travellers in the first three months of the year, operator Dubai Airports said in a statement, while the number of flights fell three per cent in the first quarter due to grounding of the 737 Max jets that came into effect March 13 in the UAE.

Flydubai, the UAE's only operator of the Maxs and the second largest customer of the single-aisle narrowbodies globally, grounded the jets on the UAE aviation regulator's directives after the model was involved in two plane crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia within five months. The airline's chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum lambasted the US planemaker last week over its communication on handling the Max global grounding.

Dubai International Airport handled an average of 7.41 million passengers per month during the first quarter, slightly down from 7.42 million last year, it said.

India remained the airport's top destination country by passenger traffic, followed by Saudi Arabia and the UK. The top three cities were London, Mumbai and Jeddah.

Air cargo volumes rose 4.1 per cent in the first quarter to 641,250 tonnes.

Dubai International has closed one of its two runways for 45 days starting April 16 to complete upgrade work on the southern runway.

Updated: May 6, 2019 01:05 AM

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