Dubai International Airport touched the six million mark for the first time in terms of passenger numbers in August with a growth rate of nearly 24 per cent, revealed a traffic report by its operator on Tuesday.
On its current trajectory, the airport is well on track to displace Heathrow as the world’s second busiest airport and places more urgency for the likes of Dubai World Central’s opening next month to augment and support the aviation growth that the city and wider UAE is snaring.
For Dubai International to notch up a huge rise in passengers is not only a testament to the airport’s continued growth, it highlights the rising importance for the hub as a true global connection point, according to a senior aviation analyst.
“Emirates and flydubai …. have been key catalysts for the post-Ramadan expansion, but the added flights via other airlines flying to Dubai only serves as a reminder that the airport is fast approaching its 2013 goal of topping 65 million passengers,” Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at London-based StrategicAero Research firm, told Khaleej Times.
According to the report, the monthly passenger traffic at Dubai International reached 5.99 million in August, a year on year increase of 23.8 per cent compared to 4.85 million in the corresponding month in 2012. The surge is the result of a strong growth in almost all markets and the effect of Ramadan and Eid travel, which further boosted traffic during the month.
With monthly traffic breaching the 5 million passenger mark for nine consecutive months, the year-to-date passenger number increased by 16.4 per cent to 43.97 million compared to 37.78 million recorded during the first eight months of 2012.
“The results have been very satisfying so far this year with the airport achieving traffic growth rate well over the projected figures. While five million passengers per month has become a standard at Dubai International, it’s worth noting that in August we were barely two Airbus A380s short of hitting the six million passenger figures,” Paul Griffiths, chief executive officer, Dubai Airports, said in a statement.
Spurred by the strong growth in markets such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait, the AGCC routes topped the list of regions with the largest growth in passenger numbers, Western Europe — which has been positively affected by the launch of Qantas’ services  to Dubai; followed by the traditionally strong market of the Subcontinent, and Africa).
“The signs are good for the remainder of the year, the highlight of which will be the launch of passenger operations at Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC). We have signed MoUs with two airlines and are in discussion with a number of other carriers to start services at the new airport while Wizz Air has confirmed it will start operations on October 27 as DWC’s launch customer,” Griffiths said.
Aircraft movements during August reached 31,198, up 11.5 per cent from 27,986 recorded during the corresponding month in 2012. During the first eight months of the year aircraft movements totalled 242,571, up 7.3 per cent compared to 226,064 during the corresponding period in 2012.
Year-to-date cargo volumes increased by 8.1 per cent to reach 1.58 million tonnes compared to 1.47 million during the first eight months of 2012. Monthly cargo volume contracted by 3 per cent in August reaching 184,877 tonnes compared to 190,770 tonnes in August 2012.