Queen Alia International Airport saw a record month for passenger traffic in July, with the number of people using the airport rising above 600,000 for the first time ever.
The 5.2 percent rise in passenger numbers from a year earlier suggests that travelers are confident about traveling to the region, following a slight dip in travel at the beginning of the year. It also bodes well for the government’s strategy of increasing tourism income.
Airport International Group (AIG), the Jordanian company operating and developing the airport, has overseen an average 12 percent growth in passenger numbers annually over the last three years, which has dramatically increased revenue flow to the government.
Last month628,000 passengers used Queen Alia International Airport, compared to the previous monthly high of 597,000 set in July 2010.
The routes that saw the biggest increases in passenger numbers were Madinah, up 130 percent, Sharm El Sheikh, 67 percent higher, and Rome, up 45 percent. Jordanians also appear to be traveling more, with departures rising nearly 12 percent from a year earlier.
AIG is investing US$800 million in a state-of-the-art terminal, which is due to open next year, to accommodate the rapid increase in passenger numbers and expected growth in coming years.
The public-private partnership project to develop and operate QAIA is a key factor in plans to boost the economy. The government launched a strategy in late July to nearly double tourism revenues to JD 4.2 billion in 2015, from JD2.4 billion in 2010. The industry accounts for around 15 percent of Jordan’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The first phase of the new terminal project will be completed in the summer of 2012, with airport capacity lifted to 7 million passengers per annum from its current capacity of 3.5 million. AIG will continue to enhance and expand the airport as needed, gradually increasing passenger capacity toward the 12 million passengers per year.
Since 2007, when AIG entered into the partnership with the government of Jordan for the management of QAIA under a 25-year concession agreement, passenger traffic has risen to 5.4 million annually from 3.8 million. AIG has negotiated an increase in flights to over 650 per week, from around 400 flights in 2007.
Several airlines have increased flight frequency or added flights, including Royal Jordanian, Easy Jet, Air Arabia, Austrian Airlines, Alitalia, Vueling, FlyDubai, airBaltic, Iberia and Tarom Romanian. The airport has also welcomed new charter services by Air Mediterranee, MINT Airways, XL Airways.