Dubai Airport Passenger Traffic Up, Cargo Falls

February 27, 2012

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Passenger traffic at Dubai Airport jumped 14 percent in January from a year earlier, buoyed by holiday season demand, but cargo shipments fell, Dubai Airports said on Monday.

The world's fourth busiest airport for international passenger and cargo traffic handled 4.85 million passengers last month, up from 4.25 million in the year-ago period. The 14 percent rise was the largest increase in 14 months.

"The fantastic start to the year is partially due to the traffic surge caused by the holiday season, the recently concluded Dubai Shopping Festival and the on-going expansion of the hub network," said Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports.

"Our projections indicate 2012 traffic totals will reach 56.5 million, obliterating last year's record of 51 million."

The airport operator also said aircraft movements rose 8.4 percent from a year earlier to 29,680. The strongest passenger growth came from Gulf Cooperation Council states, Western Europe and the Indian subcontinent.

Cargo volume however fell 2.6 percent to 173,531 tonnes in January, the operator said, adding that the decrease reflected weaker global airfreight demand and fragile consumer confidence.

Trade and logistics are key drivers of growth in Dubai, which lacks the oil wealth of nearby Abu Dhabi. The emirate accounts for around 80 percent of the United Arab Emirates' non-oil trade but only 28 percent of economic output.