Dubai airport maintains double-digit growth

Dubai International Airport has registered strong overall growth in the first half of 2007, with passenger movement going up by 17.94 per cent over the first half of 2006 and cargo recording a healthy 11 per cent increase. Dubai International handled a total of 16,227,528 passengers in the first half this year as against 13,759,320 during the same period last year.

January and March witnessed the highest passenger movement this year with 2.83 million and 2.77 million passengers respectively while April and May registered higher growth rate over last year with 20 per cent and 19.5 per cent respectively.

During the period under review, Dubai Cargo Village handled a total of 751,575 tonnes of cargo as compared to 680,572 tonnes in the first half of 2006, an increase of 10.43 per cent. March was the most successful month for the Cargo Village in terms of tonnage with 132,445 tonnes of cargo being handled, while growth wise February, with 13.2 per cent, was the busiest.

Aircraft movement at Dubai International Airport also witnessed healthy growth of 9.5 per cent. The airport handled a total of 127,568 flights during the six months ending June 2007, as against 116,543 flights in the corresponding period last year. January was the busiest period for the airport in terms of aircraft movement with over 21,922 flights, an increase of more than 10.5 per cent over January 2005.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Department of Civil Aviation and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group, noted that while the first half of 2007 ended with a very positive note, DCA’s focus in on the annual target. ‘We have been registering an average annual growth of over 15 per cent, so the first half this year is very satisfying.’ he said.

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Commenting on the growth of DIA, its preparedness to accommodate this growth and the challenges the airport will face in the future, His Excellency Mohammed Ahli, Director General of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) and CEO of Dubai Air Traffic Services (ATS), said ‘Dubai International Airport is the passenger and cargo hub of the Middle East and is fast emerging as a global hub, as such we have to be prepared not just with an expanded capacity but efficient utilisation of our facilities.’

He revealed that DIA’s capacity will receive a shot in the arm with the opening of its second runway toward the end of this year. ‘The opening of the runway will expand our aircraft movement capacity by over five per cent, and will definitely have a positive impact on DIA’s overall growth.’

He noted that the DCAA believes the airport’s efficiency can be maximised with the help of technology. ‘Based on this approach we are planning to acquire the Automatic Dependence Surveillance (ADS), a satellite-based system widely used in the developed countries in the West, which allows the ATC to track air traffic even beyond the range of their radars,’ he explained.

Mohammed Bin Ahmed Al Tayer, Vice President, Aviation - DCA, noted that with the opening of Terminal 3 and Concourse 2 by mid-2008 will greatly increase DIA’s capacity, further boosting its overall growth. ‘According to the Airports Council International (ACI) we are currently ranked 10th worldwide in terms of international passenger throughput; I believe our ranking will rise by a leap with the opening of the expansion,’ he said.
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