Dubai Air­ports re­ports dip in num­ber of pas­sen­gers first time in 20 years

Muscat Daily - - BUSINESS -

Dubai, UAE - The num­ber of trav­ellers pass­ing through Dubai In­ter­na­tional Air­port dipped last year for the first time in 20 years but the air­port re­mained the world's busiest for in­ter­na­tional pas­sen­gers, author­i­ties said on Wed­nes­day.

Traf­fic at the ma­jor tran­sit hub dropped 3.1 per cent to 86.4mn pas­sen­gers, down from 89.15mn pas­sen­gers in 2018, Dubai Air­ports said.

It is the first fall in the num­ber of pas­sen­gers at Dubai In­ter­na­tional since at least 2,000, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from Dubai Sta­tis­tics Cen­tre, a gov­ern­ment agency.

The air­port re­tained its po­si­tion as the top global air­port serv­ing in­ter­na­tional pas­sen­gers, beat­ing sec­ond-placed Heathrow Air­port by six mil­lion pas­sen­gers, the state­ment said.

It at­trib­uted the de­cline in pas­sen­ger num­bers to a ‘se­ries of chal­lenges’ in­clud­ing the 45 day clo­sure of the air­port’s south run­way to en­able its re­fur­bish­ment, global mar­ket con­di­tions, as well as the world­wide ground­ing of the Boe­ing 737 MAX.

“While cus­tomer num­bers in 2019 were lower than the pre­ced­ing year, the im­pact of the 45-day clo­sure of the run­way, the bank­ruptcy of Jet Air­ways, as well as the ground­ing of the Boe­ing’s 737 MAX ac­counted for an es­ti­mated 3.2mn pas­sen­gers over the course of the year,” Dubai Air­ports CEO Paul Griffiths said.

Low cost car­rier Fly­dubai has been one of the big­gest cus­tomers of the Boe­ing 737 MAX, which has been grounded since March last year fol­low­ing two crashes that killed 346 peo­ple and opened the doors to in­tense scru­tiny of the US man­u­fac­turer’s safety prac­tices.

In­dia ac­counted for the largest num­ber of pas­sen­gers us­ing Dubai air­port, with 11.9mn.

Saudi Ara­bia pro­vided the sec­ond largest, with 6.3mn, nar­rowly ahead of Bri­tain's 6.2mn.

The num­ber of flights han­dled by the air­port also dropped last year, fall­ing by 8.6 per cent to 373,261, Dubai Air­ports said.

The vol­ume of cargo han­dled fell by 4.8 per cent to 2.5mn tonnes.

Pas­sen­ger arrivals in Dubai reached a record 16.73mn pas­sen­gers last year, up 5.1 per cent on 2018 but far short of the 20mn the author­i­ties hope to wel­come this year.

For the past few years, the glitzy city state has been bat­tling an eco­nomic slow­down led by its key real es­tate and tourism sec­tors.

Growth slowed to 1.94 per cent in 2018, be­fore re­bound­ing slightly to 2.1 per cent last year, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment fig­ures.

(Bloomberg)

Emi­rates pas­sen­ger planes lined up at the gates of Dubai In­ter­na­tional Air­port

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