x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Dubai International visits expected to soar

The number of passengers using Dubai International Airport each month is expected to soar above 5 million during the summer holiday season, Dubai Airports says.

The number of passengers using Dubai International Airport each month is expected to soar above 5 million during the summer holiday season, Dubai Airports said yesterday.

Passenger numbers for last month reached more than 4.5 million, a 7.8 per cent increase on April last year.

"Crossing the 4.5 million mark in terms of monthly passenger numbers is becoming the norm at Dubai International, and we could break the 5 million passenger ceiling during the summer peak," said Paul Griffiths, the chief executive of Dubai Airports. Passenger numbers for the first four months of the year have hit 18.8 million, up 13.9 per cent on the same period last year, according to Dubai Airports.

To cope with the seasonal rush, the company is launching its annual summer programme, which will involve deploying more than 500 employees across the airport to help customers, it said.

"The airport's growth again continues to rise on the back of Emirates' expansion," said Saj Ahmad, the chief analyst at StrategicAero Research, referring to Emirates Airline. "With the airline capturing new traffic through new services, those figures at the airport will rise again as the year goes on...Dubai has cemented its place as a global nexus for travel."

Passenger numbers on Middle Eastern routes were down by 22,270 passengers last month because of continuing instability in some parts of the region, Dubai Airports said. But this was far outweighed by strong growth from the GCC, South America, Africa, Western Europe and Russia and former Soviet states, the data showed.

Dubai International is the world's fourth-busiest airport in terms of international passengers, with traffic forecast to increase by 11 per cent this year to 56.5 million passengers.

The airport is being expanded to meet growing demand, with a new concourse scheduled to open in the first quarter of next year. Concourse 3, which is to be used exclusively by Emirates Airline, is to include 33 aircraft access points, two luxury hotels and shops covering 11,000 square metres. With 11 floors and a capacity of 19 million passengers a year, it will boost Dubai International's total annual capacity to 75 million.

The aviation sector in Dubai is expected to help to generate 373,000 jobs and contribute US$45.4bn (Dh166.78bn) to the economy by 2020, equivalent to 22 per cent of Dubai's employment and 32 per cent of its GDP, according to a study by Oxford Economics.

Dubai International recorded a total of 28,503 aircraft movements last month, up 7.2 per cent on April last year. It handled 186,385 tonnes of cargo last month, up 3.9 per cent on April last year.

rbundhun@thenational.ae

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