Thursday, September 3, 2015

This international airport is bursting at the seams with passengers

Dubai International, the world's busiest airport by international traffic, recorded nearly 30 per cent year-on-year growth in passenger numbers in July that showed demand for travel to and through Dubai remained beyond robust.

Dubai Airports, the operator, on Wednesday announced that 6.68 million passengers passed through Dubai International in July, up 29.6 per cent from the same month last year when traffic numbers were affected by a runway refurbishment programme.

"Over six million passengers per month has become the norm at DXB [Dubai International airport] and we expect that to continue for the remainder of the year," Paul Griffiths, chief executive officer (CEO) of Dubai Airports, said in a statement.

Passenger numbers in July totalled 6.68 million compared to 5.15 million handled in July 2014 when the airport was reduced to one runway operations while a billion dollar refurbishment programme was conducted over 80 days.

During the first seven months of 2015, the airport welcomed 44.98 million passengers, compared to 39.83 million passengers during the same period last year, an increase of 12.9 per cent.

"With almost 13 per cent more passengers handled year to date so far over the same period a year ago, the airport is on track to eclipse the 79 million passenger target for 2015," Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at London-based Strategic Aero Research, told Khaleej Times.

"As always, the frenetic expansion catalysts are the two biggest incumbents at Dubai International in Emirates and flydubai. These two airlines alone have expanded faster than global competition, leveraging their strength from economies of scale, efficiency and product strategy to pull in customers and feed their organic expansion to cater for this demand," Ahmad added.

Both airlines have performed exceptionally well, given the regional angst in places such as Syria, Yemen and Egypt. Meanwhile, growth in new markets such as Eastern Europe by flydubai validates the market need for more new routes where services and choices are limited, he added.

Dubai Airports said Eastern Europe was again the strongest growing region in July, up 77.6 per cent, driven mainly by flydubai's new services to Slovakia, Bosnia, Bulgaria and Croatia, and Emirates service to Hungary. GCC placed second during the month, followed by North America, Russia and CIS.

In terms of total passenger numbers, the GCC outperformed the rest of the regions, followed by the Subcontinent and Western Europe. The top five countries in terms of passenger numbers were India, UK, Saudi Arabia, USA and Pakistan, with London, Doha, Kuwait, Mumbai and Jeddah heading the list of most popular destinations served from DXB.

The number of flights rose dramatically in July to 33,650, an increase of 35 per cent from 24,925 recorded during July 2014, again due to the effect of the runway closure. Year to date flight movements totalled 231,081, up 18.8 per cent from 194,554 aircraft movements recorded during the same period last year. 

Dubai International freight volumes also increased eight per cent in July to 205,526 tonnes compared to 190,376 tonnes in July 2014 as volumes were affected by capacity reductions caused during runway refurbishment. During the first seven months of 2015, DXB handled 1,438,904 tonnes of freight, up 2.7 per cent from 1,401,743 tonnes handled during the same period last year. 

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