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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Ramadan dip for Abu Dhabi Airport traffic in May 

Passenger numbers were down 2 per cent year-on-year

Passenger Traffic dipped at Abu Dhabi International Airport in May, as the start of Ramadan heralded a lull in travel .

The airport said numbers fell by 2 per cent in May compared to the same month the previous year, but the month was typically slower as it fell before the summer holiday rush.

Ahmed Al Shamsi, the acting chief operations officer at Abu Dhabi Airports, said the slight drop was also a result of all airlines now operating point-to-point flights.

The airport is no longer registering transit passengers in its figures compared to the nearly 13,000 reported last May. However, it said Mumbai is one of the leading destinations as a result of the “increase in transfer and departure passengers”.

India traffic made up 21 per cent of total passenger volumes in May, while Saudi Arabia moved into the second position with a 7.8 per cent increase as a result of a rise in passengers to Riyadh and Jeddah for Umrah. Traffic to London and Sydney rose by 12 and 24 per cent respectively thanks to larger aircraft and a jump in flight frequencies.

US pre-clearance for all America-bound flights has been a great advantage for the airport. However, the US government plans to expand the programme globally. The system allows the US to screen passengers before their arrival in America, in line with a ban by the Trump administration on Muslim travelers from six countries.

In March, Washington began requiring US-bound passengers from 10 airports - including the UAE - to check-in all electronics larger than mobile devices. last week, the US Supreme Court partially upheld the President Trump’s decision to impose travel injunctions against citizens from: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Despite recent events, Abu Dhabi airport expects a hike in traffic as the summer travel season gets underway with the first peak period running until mid-July for departures and arrival peaks are expected to fall between mid-August until September 10.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi hotel arrivals grew 4 per cent in the first five months of the year, uplifted by domestic guests as well as China, according to Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA).

The TCA said domestic visitors accounted for more than a third of hotel guests across the emirate’s 167 hotels and hotel apartments. China reigned as the top market with over 160,000 guests followed by India, the United Kingdom, United States and Saudi Arabia.

TCA director general, Saif Ghobash said: “Our efforts in May capitalised on the growing popularity of the emirate in China as a tourist destination, with our promotional team conducting a four-city roadshow, and participating in the ITB China Exhibition 2017 in Shanghai.”

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