Dubai passenger numbers and cargo numbers soar

by Carol on July 20, 2012

in Tourism


Passenger numbers have risen by 19 per cent year on year, while cargo volumes have soared by 6.5 per cent compared to the same month in 2011

Dubai International Airport has had a great start to 2012 with soaring passenger numbers and steep rises in air cargo volumes.

Monthly passenger traffic rose 19 per cent in February to a 16-month high of 4.56 million. This was a major rise on the same month in 2011, when the figure was 3.83 million. Meanwhile, the figures for air cargo volume through Dubai International Airport in February represented a major recovery after a year of weaker performances. Loads rose by 6.5 per cent to 157,492 tonnes compared with 147,937 tonnes in February 2011.

12 month of rises

The rise in passenger numbers meant that the airport surpassed a tally of 4.5 million for the second month in a row, according to the data in a traffic report for February issued by Dubai Airports. The increase up to the end of February was 16.4 per cent to 9,413,286.

February was the 12th month in a row with passenger traffic exceeding the four million mark.  The airport now expects to attract 56.5 million passengers in 2012.

Dubai’s excellent performance was not an isolated one in the Arab world. Overall, the Arab Gulf Co-operation Council (AGCC) topped the list of regions with the largest increase in total passenger numbers in February with more than 150,643 passengers. In second position came the Indian subcontinent (over 140,322), Western Europe (over 136,320), and Africa (over 110,561 passengers).

More routes to South America

The largest rises were in routes to South America which climbed more than 151.4 per cent owing to Emirates’s new routes to Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. The launch of Emirates Airline’s flights to of Lusaka and Harare in February saw Africa’s passenger numbers rise by 35.9 per cent.

Meanwhile, after months of weak performance, cargo volumes surged 6.5 per cent to 157,492 tonnes compared to 147,937 tonnes in February last year. One of the major reasons was the expansion of the Emirates route network, which brings more cargo through Dubai.

Dubai’s figures suggest the Middle East is leading the sector out of its recession. In 2011, there was an 8 per cent fall in global air freight volumes, according to figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Investor confidence

However, last year the Middle East bucked the generally negative trends with a 9.4 per cent rise in demand. This was largely down to the performances of Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways. In 2011, cargo operations accounted for 20 per cent of Etihad Airways’ overall revenues, with average monthly loads of 25,000 tonnes.

The strong performance of Dubai International Airport is more evidence that the emirate has recovered from the economic slump, which is also great news for property investors. Confidence has returned to the market and there should be plenty of interest in the many new hotel developments, such as The First Group’s two luxury hotel apartment projects in Tecom, Metro Central and Grand Central, which are situated in the bustling business district of Tecom in the heart of “New Dubai”. The luxury end of the market did particularly well in 2011, soaring 17.6 per cent.

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