Dubai airport posts robust traffic

Dubai International Airport has witnessed the busiest period in its history with 18.46 million passengers - more than 3.5 times Dubai's population - travelling through in the first half of 2008 alone, a 13.8 per cent growth from the first half of 2007, GN reported.

In 2007, Dubai International was already the world's fastest growing airport with 34.34 million passengers.

In the first half of this year, the airport handled an average of three million passengers a month, or 100,000 every day, Dubai International said in an e-mailed statement.

Dubai International is the busiest airport in the Middle East and North Africa.

In the first six months of 2008, passenger throughput crossed the three million mark except February which had 2.97 million.

March was the busiest month so far, with 3.25 million passengers. By the end of the year, around 40 million passengers are expected to have used the airport.

Cargo too saw robust growth, with Dubai Cargo Village (DCV) handling 831,978 tonnes of freight, representing a 10.70 per cent growth over the first half of 2007.

Perhaps not surprisingly, with many UAE residents travelling for the summer, June was the busiest month for DCV with 147,012 tonnes of freight handled.

Overall growth during the first half of this year, resulted in an increase of 5.94 per cent in aircraft movement from 127,568 aircraft in the first half of 2007.

Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) and chairman of Dubai Airports, said: "Dubai International is the main gateway to the city of Dubai which is recognised as a global commerce and tourism hub. The growth of the city and that of the airport are entwined in a directly proportional relationship."

This year, Dubai International handled a total of 135,144 aircraft, both inbound and outbound, between January and June.

The busiest period in terms of aircraft movement was March, with over 24,143 aircraft in total. On average, there are 715 aircraft movements each day at Dubai International.

Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports, said: "Although it's great news, there's no time to celebrate. We are all working to maintain customer service levels during the peak summer travel season, while also testing and preparing the new terminal and airside facility for opening later this year."

Griffiths said once terminal 3 is open, the capacity will get the "much-needed boost" to handle the increasing passenger throughput at Dubai International.

Mohammad Ahli, Director General of DCAA and CEO of Air Traffic Services, said Dubai International's sustained growth for over half a decade can be attributed to the city's geographical location - ideal at the centre of the emerging economies of the East and the developed markets of the West.

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