x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Dubai International soars to a record

Dubai International Airport handled an average of 135,700 passengers each day in the first half of the year.

The Dubai airport's figures for last month reveal a 10.4 per cent rise from the same period last year, to 4.07 million passengers. Jeff Topping / The National
The Dubai airport's figures for last month reveal a 10.4 per cent rise from the same period last year, to 4.07 million passengers. Jeff Topping / The National

Dubai International Airport handled an average of 135,700 passengers each day as the emirate's aviation engine powered ahead in the first half of the year.

A record 24.6 million passengers passed through the world's fourth-busiest airport for international passenger traffic during the period, compared with 22.6 million in the same period last year, as the airport's biggest customers, Emirates Airline and flydubai, added flights, routes and aircraft.

The increase of 8.8 per cent keeps Dubai International on track to become the world's busiest international air hub within four years, officials say. A US$7.8 billion (Dh28.64bn) expansion of Dubai International is planned to continue driving growth over this decade.

"Robust passenger traffic growth continues despite high fuel prices and growing economic uncertainty in Europe and the US," said Paul Griffiths, the chief executive of Dubai Airports, which manages Dubai International and the new Al Maktoum International Airport in Jebel Ali. "This is being driven by the addition of new routes and frequencies."

The first-half results, representing the busiest six months in the airport's 50-year history, was achieved amid regional and international shocks - including political unrest in other parts of the region and the earthquake in Japan - that curtailed some air travel.

More than 200 new weekly flights were launched to 19 new destinations across Asia, Europe and Africa by airlines over the period. Dubai International serves more than 130 airlines flying to more than 220 destinations on six continents.

The airport's figures for last month reveal a 10.4 per cent rise from the same period last year, to 4.07 million passengers.

The airport operator said India, the UK, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran provided the most inbound flights.

The world's fastest-growing regions for passenger traffic during the first half of the year include Eastern Europe, with traffic rising 302.4 per cent, and the GCC, where volumes increased by 28.2 per cent.

Traffic to Russia and the former CIS states grew by 20.8 per cent, followed by North America (16.8 per cent), Asia-Pacific (13.2 per cent) and the Indian subcontinent (8.3 per cent).

Air cargo volumes remained flat, however, in the first half, with Dubai International processing 1.058 million tonnes compared with 1.055 million tonnes during the same period last year, an increase of 0.2 per cent.

Cargo activity began to rise, however, at the end of the latest period, with volumes growing 3.34 per cent to 183,365 tonnes.

igale@thenational.ae