x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Dubai airport rises from ash

The transportation hub has recovered from Iceland's volcano

Dubai International Airport stayed on track for a record year as its passenger figures for last month grew by 14 per cent, despite the week-long flight ban into Europe caused by volcanic ash. Passenger numbers rose to 3.7 million from 3.3 million in April last year, and cargo increased 19.6 per cent to 178,000 tonnes from 149,000 tonnes.

"To record double-digit growth during a month where over 500 flights were cancelled is impressive," said Paul Griffiths, the chief executive of Dubai Airports. "It's testament to the great job airlines did to clear the backlog after the skies opened up and it's a clear indication our confidence in the continued growth at Dubai International is well placed." The ash from a volcano in Iceland and resulting airspace closures took place between April 15 and 21, and caused more than 100,000 cancellations worldwide affecting 10 million passengers, the International Air Transport Association says.

About 6,000 passengers on 500 flights were affected at Dubai airport, but 46 extra flights were put on to clear the backlog. The results suggest Dubai Airports could surpass its forecast for 13.6 per cent passenger growth this year, Mr Griffiths said. It has already jumped into third ranking for international passenger numbers and cargo traffic, Airports Council International says. igale@thenational.ae