Dubai International Airport’s passenger traffic is expected to hit 56.5 million this year as it posted a record monthly passenger number of over 4.85 million in January.
Passenger traffic in January reached 4,852,139 passengers, surpassing the previous record of 4,724,109 in July 2011, and a 14 per cent increase compared to 4,254,735 recorded in January 2011, according to the latest traffic report issued by Dubai Airports.
This performance brings Dubai International’s rolling 12-month passenger numbers to 51.57 million and builds on the historic 50.98 million passengers recorded in 2011, said a statement.
The GCC continued to top the list of regions with the largest increase in total passenger numbers in January (+203,219), followed by Western Europe (+100,902), the Indian subcontinent (+92,855 passengers), and Russia and the CIS (+77,454 passengers).
Middle Eastern routes continued the downward trend in the New Year (-4,747 passengers) owing to on-going unrest in the region, while traffic on African routes surged after months of weak performance (+34,909 passengers), it said.
Spurred by the launch of Emirates Airline’s new routes to Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, South America was the strongest market in terms of percentage passenger growth in January (+71.4 per cent), followed by Russia and CIS (+57.3 per cent) driven by the expansion of Dubai’s low cost carrier flydubai in the region, and the GCC (+36.9 per cent) as a result of growth in Saudi Arabian traffic. Eastern Europe (20.6 per cent) and Australasia (16.7) also achieved high growth rates.
Total aircraft movements for Dubai International rose 8.4 per cent to 29,680 compared to 27,385 last January.
Cargo volumes contracted 2.6 per cent to 173,531 tonnes compared to 178,199 tonnes in January last year reflecting on-going weaker global airfreight demand and fragile consumer confidence, said the statement.
“It is fitting that we started a record-breaking year with record monthly passenger numbers. Our projections indicate 2012 traffic totals will reach 56.5 million, obliterating last year’s record of 51 million,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports. “The fantastic start to the year is partially due to the traffic surge caused by the holiday season, the recently concluded Dubai Shopping Festival and the on-going expansion of the hub network.”
Dubai International is the fourth-busiest airport worldwide for international passenger and cargo traffic. The opening of Concourse 3, the A380 facility dedicated for use by Emirates Airline, next year will take Dubai International’s capacity from 60 million to 75 million.