Ramadan dents passenger traffic growth in UAE airports
Barely a week after Abu Dhabi reported a flat growth in passenger traffic in June, Dubai International (DXB) posted a 1 per cent drop from a year ago to 5.86 million passengers on Sunday (August 7).
Dubai Airports, the operator the world’s busiest international hub, said the decline was due to “the impact of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.”
Most of Ramadan, which normally reduces business travel in the region, occurred during the month of June this year.
Passenger traffic at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) increased just 0.7 per cent in June from the same month last year, operator Abu Dhabi Airports said on Tuesday.
The capital city’s airport recorded 5.9 per cent drop in cargo handling and 4.6 fall in total aircraft movement during the month.
Last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said the Middle Eastern carriers posted a 7.5 per cent traffic increase in June, slumping from the double-digit growth recorded earlier in the year.
IATA, which represents some 260 airlines comprising 83 per cent of global air traffic, said the drop in passenger traffic could be due to the month of Ramadan when not many people prefer to travel.
Global demand for air travel grew 5.2 per cent during the month. The figure was slightly up from the 4.8 per cent increase recorded in the previous month.
The international trade body of airlines said terrorism as well as economic slowdown has hit the passenger demand growth.
“The demand for travel continues to increase, but at a slower pace. The fragile and uncertain economic backdrop, political shocks and a wave of terrorist attacks are all contributing to a softer demand environment,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
International passenger demand rose 5.0 per cent in June compared to the same month a year earlier. IATA said that all regions recorded growth, led by airlines in Latin America.
Tayler said the latest figures show that aviation and aviation related tourism delivers $2.7 trillion in economic impact and supports some 62.7 million jobs worldwide.
“It is too soon to know whether recent terrorist attacks will have a long-term negative influence on demand, nor what will be the impact of Brexit and the events in Turkey. But it is vital that governments recognize and support aviation’s ability to contribute to global economic well-being and better understanding across cultural and political borders,” added Tyler.
Dubai International’s passenger traffic reached a record 40.5 million passengers in the first half of the year, up 5.8 per cent compared to the corresponding period in 2015 when the airport welcomed 38,299,288 passengers.
During the first six months, the top five country destinations in terms of total passenger volumes were India (5,677,188), Saudi Arabia (3,213,868), the UK (2,850,437), Pakistan (2,134,012) and the US (1,626,032). Aircraft movements in the first half totalled 207,439, up 3.8 per cent compared to 199,820 recorded during the corresponding period last year. In June aircraft movements totalled 32,368, up 0.6 per cent compared to 32,166 during June of last year.
Air cargo volumes rose 3.8 per cent to 1.28 million tonnes compared to 1.23m tonnes during the same period in 2015. Dubai International handled 226,175 tonnes of freight in June compared to 217,896 tonnes during the same month last year, an increase of 3.9 per cent.
Meanwhile, total traffic in Abu Dhabi airport from January to June reached 11.8m passengers, representing a 6.6 per cent increase from the 11.1m in the first six months of 2015.
The number of people passing through Terminal 1 saw the largest increase, reaching 4,790,469 -a 22 per cent growth from 3,918,322 in 2015.
The most popular destination in June was Bombay with a 26 per cent rise in traffic to the Indian destination compared to the same month last year, with figures up from 55,991 to 70,312.