By Issac John www.khaleejtimes.com
Dubai International on Monday said its year-on-year passenger number for February increased by 5.2 per cent despite global and regional turbulence which is affecting travel plans of millions of people.
Passenger numbers in February rose to 3.83 million from 3.64 million recorded during the same month in 2010. Aircraft movements for the month totalled 24,646 up 7.2 per cent from 22,982 recorded during the same period last year, Dubai Airports, which owns and manages the emirate’s two airports, said in a statement. In 2010, the airport recorded 47.2 million passengers, up 15.3 per cent on 2009’s total of 40.9 million. Cargo volumes also expanded, fast approaching maximum capacity as global trade continues to recover. Annual cargo traffic rose to 2.27 million tonnes — a 17.7 per cent rise over the 1.93 million tonnes recorded in 2009.
Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, has forecast that Dubai International would surpass 52 million passengers this year at an annual growth rate of 11 per cent with the launch of new routes from the airport. He said the airport saw the launch of 22 new routes in 2010, mostly by airlines that started operating from the airport last year. They include Indonesian airline Garuda, Air Berlin, Kingfisher and China Eastern.
The 2011 forecast does not include traffic at the new Al Maktoum airport.
In 2010, passenger growth accelerated to more than 15 per cent from a 9.2 per cent increase in 2009. The airport plans to boost capacity on the ground and in the air to cope with the steady growth. Concourse 3 is on track for completion by the end of next year, which will add capacity for 15 million passengers by providing 20 A380-compatible gates, taking airport’s total capacity to 75 million passengers.
Dubai surged further ahead of Singapore Changi Airport, which handled 42 million passengers in 2010.
The largest increases in total passenger numbers in February were recorded on routes to and from GCC (plus 111,978 passengers), the Indian subcontinent (plus 56,319 passengers), Western Europe (plus 30,999) and Russia and the CIS (plus 22,286 passengers). Passenger totals on Middle Eastern routes dropped 33,036 while a decline of 28,395 passengers was recorded on African routes as traffic was affected by political unrest in Tunisia, Egypt, and Bahrain.
Dubai International handled 156,259 tonnes of international air freight in February, down 9 per cent from the 171,707 tonnes recorded during the same period in 2010. February freight growth was primarily affected by a decline in traffic from Asia, particularly from China due to the Chinese New Year holidays, as well as by limited flight disruptions in the Middle East.
“Dubai International continues to achieve consistent growth even during a period of global turbulence which is affecting the travel plans of millions of people,” said Griffiths.
“We are pleased that Dubai is able to provide a level of consistent service during this time of uncertainty.”