x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Dubai international on the rise as additional flights are added

The number of passengers using Dubai International Airport rose sharply in the first half of the year

The number of passengers using Dubai International Airport rose sharply in the first half of the year as Emirates Airlines, flydubai and other airlines added flights, Dubai Airports said yesterday. The airport recorded 22,554,445 passengers compared with 19,397,089 in the same period last year, an increase of 16.3 per cent. Last month, passenger numbers were up 9.6 per cent to 3,684,192, from 3,361,413 in June last year.

"As the numbers clearly suggest, many major airports around the world are starting to display positive growth following an almost year-long spell of double-digit decrease in traffic," said Paul Griffiths, the chief executive of Dubai Airports, which owns and manages the operation and development of Dubai International and the new Al Maktoum International Airport at Jebel Ali. "Dubai International was the only airport among the major international hubs recording positive growth throughout this period," he said. Dubai Airports said more than 145 flights were launched in the first half of the year to 21 destinations worldwide. Among these, Emirates Airlines launched flights to destinations including Tokyo and Jakarta, while the budget carrier flydubai added routes including Luxor and Colombo.

Emirates added a total of 36 weekly flights in the first half, while flydubai launched another 48 weekly flights, Dubai Airports said. In addition, Kingfisher Airlines started operating daily flights to Delhi and Mumbai from Dubai. Figures released last month by the UN World Tourism Organisation showed international tourist arrivals increased by 7 per cent in the first four months of this year compared with the same period last year, with the organisation saying the pace of recovery was "faster than initially expected".

Airlines are expected to post a total of US$2.5 billion (Dh9.18bn) in profit this year after losing $9.9bn last year, according to the International Air Transport Association. Dubai International is used by 130 airlines that fly to more than 220 destinations across six continents, Dubai Airports said. Cargo also continued to grow, with Dubai Airports reporting it handled 1,101,856 tonnes of freight at Dubai International in the first six months of the year compared with 874,828 tonnes during the same period last year, an increase of 26 per cent.

Mr Griffiths said he expected the airport's strong performance to continue as the global economic situation continued to improve. Al Maktoum International Airport, which started cargo operations last month, expects to handle up to 120 million passengers a year eventually. rbundhun@thenational.ae