x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Abu Dhabi airport traffic up 8%

Passenger traffic at Abu Dhabi International Airport increased more than 8 per cent in the first six months of the year.

Passenger traffic at Abu Dhabi International Airport increased more than 8 per cent in the first six months of the year, despite the lingering effects of the economic downturn and apprehension about the swine flu pandemic. The figures represent a turnaround for the airport from earlier this year, when traffic growth slowed as a knock-on effect of the global financial crisis. India retained its top spot as the airport's largest market, and traffic to and from the capital to the subcontinent recorded a 12.5 per cent rise year on year. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia round out the roster of the airport's three leading markets. London was the busiest destination for the airport last month with a total of 41,748 passengers, while Doha, with 34,399 passengers, followed. Bangkok, Jeddah and Manila complete the airport's list of leading destinations. Air cargo at the airport increased in June by 2.3 per cent compared to the same month last year, while aircraft movements rose 15.2 per cent in the same period. Mohammed Al Bulooki, vice president of airline marketing and aeronautical revenue, said: "In spite of the current global economic downturn, Abu Dhabi International Airport continues to record growth and defy the negative market trends. We continue to invest in the quality of our services and our facilities, which ensures we are poised and ready to act when the market makes its recovery." Etihad Airways is the airport's biggest customer and has recently announced new routes to several destinations, including Cape Town, South Africa, flights to which will begin from Abu Dhabi on Sept 30. According to the most recent statistics available from Airports Council International, an industry organisation, the Middle East was the only region worldwide to record an increase in passenger traffic in May. The airport is in the midst of a Dh25b redevelopment and expansion project that officials say will pave way for an annual passenger count of 20 million. A second runway and a third terminal have already been completed as part of the expansion, an an air traffic control tower and another terminal will eventually be added to the airport's infrastructure. jbrock@thenational.ae

"Contributing to the traffic growth is the increased services by Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and the recent launch of Etihad's services to Athens, Istanbul and Larnaca," the statement said. India remained the airport's largest market and main driver of growth with a 12.5 per cent increase in traffic year on year. Pakistan was second with an increase of 7.6 per cent, ahead of Saudi Arabia. *Reuters