Dubai International welcomed more than 5 million passengers during May 2014 despite being reduced to a single runway as the airport’s two runways were consecutively closed for refurbishment.
Passenger numbers dipped 2.5 per cent to 5,086,910 passengers in May 2014, down marginally from the 5,218,832 passengers recorded in May 2013. This was achieved despite the number of aircraft movements declining 26.6 per cent to 22,856 movements in May 2014, down from the 31,121 movements recorded during the same month last year.
During the first five months of the year, passenger numbers rose 9.2 per cent to 29,608,364, up from 27,124,195 passengers during the same period last year. Aircraft movements for the same period dropped 2.6 per cent to 148,784 movements, down from the 152,720 movements recorded in the first five months of 2013.
Many airlines deployed larger aircraft during the runway closures, boosting the average number of passengers per flight 22 per cent year on year in May to a record 228 passengers, up from 186 in May 2013. This increase was largely driven by Emirates’ growing A380 fleet which has been extensively deployed during the runway upgrade programme.
Passenger traffic growth is expected to remain flat or marginally decline until the runway refurbishment programme is completed on July 20, and as the result of a lull in passenger numbers typically recorded during the holy month of Ramadan, before resuming the strong growth trend achieved in the first four months of the year.
Regionally, during the period under review, Western Europe achieved the highest increase in passenger numbers in May (+63,185), followed by North America (+50,954), Asia (+40,535) and Australasia (+8,799).
London overtook Mumbai as Dubai International’s busiest city destination in May with 3.3 per cent growth. Doha, Jeddah and Kuwait rounded out the top five city destinations during the month.
With all dedicated freighters – including all Emirates SkyCargo flights – moving to Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central from the start of the month, cargo volumes at Dubai International fell 13.3 per cent to 182,028 tonnes in May 2014, down from the 209,985 tonnes recorded in the same month last year. Year to date cargo volumes totalled 1,003,222 tonnes, 0.8 per cent up on the 994,817 tonnes recorded in the first five months of last year.
“We are extremely pleased that we were able to top 5 million passengers in May despite being reduced to a single runway. Our early consultation with airlines, careful planning and slot management has allowed our airlines to accommodate almost the same number of passengers as last year by deploying larger aircraft while protecting service levels for our passengers,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports. “We can look forward to renewed growth in August when both our runways are returned to service in time for the Eid and summer holidays.”