(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Dubai International Airport posted a 10.3 per cent year-on-year increase in passenger traffic in June, due mainly to the peak summer travel season, the company said on Monday.
The airport, known also as DIA, is the world's sixth-busiest airport and home to Emirates Airline and recently launched low-cost carrier flydubai. Passenger numbers at DIA jumped to 3.36 million last month, it said.
"The fact that the airport is recording double-digit passenger growth during the deepest global recession in decades bodes well for the future. When the current economic situation improves, Dubai will be in good shape, ready to lead the global recovery in air travel," DIA Chief Executive Officer Paul Griffiths said in a statement.
The statement did not say what DIA had originally forecast for passenger numbers in June. Company officials did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment.
Passenger traffic in the Middle East and Gulf region has continued to rise, bucking the negative trend for international air travel in many other places. Carriers based in the Middle East saw a 9.5 per cent rise in their passenger volumes in May compared to the same month last year. Meanwhile, international passenger traffic fell globally by 9.3 per cent in the same month, according to the International Air Transport Association, the main trade group for the world's full-service airlines.
Traffic at DIA grew by 2.1 per cent during the first quarter of this year, 6.4 per cent in April, and 7.1 per cent in May. DIA handled 19.5 million passengers during the first six months, up 5 per cent from the first six months of 2008, the airport said.
A slowdown from last year's boom times is evident. During the first six months of 2008, Dubai Airports handled 18.5 million passengers, up 13.8 per cent from the same period of 2007, according to data on the DIA Web site.
"Growth is being driven by strong demand during the peak summer period, the growing strength and attractiveness of the Dubai hub, underpinned by the continued expansion of Emirates, and an influx of new airlines at a rate of one per month," Griffiths said.
He said that the outlook remains strong for the balance of the summer period through to the end of September and beyond. Griffiths told Khaleej Times in May that the airport expected to achieve average annual growth in single digits in 2009, and double-digit growth in 2010. DIA is taking steps to enhance customer service. The airport has deployed around 200 volunteers to help passengers and has issued traveller tips to try to ensure a smooth flow of people through the airport, it said.
While passenger traffic is on the rise, Griffiths said, "cargo is holding its own in a very tough economic environment." Cargo traffic at DIA fell in June by 2.3 per cent to 152,278 tonnes from a year earlier. Cargo shipments for the first half of 2009 slipped year-on-year by 0.8 per cent to 874,828 tonnes, compared with a global decline in international freight of 22 per cent during the same period, the airport said.
By Abdul Basit