Dubai airport posts 5.6% drop in H1 traffic due to runway closure

The airport retained its position as the world’s largest for international passenger traffic

Dubai International airport (DXB) reported a 5.6 per cent drop in passenger traffic in the first half of the year due to the 45-day runway closure, it announced on Sunday.

Despite the drop, the airport retained its position as the world’s largest for international passenger traffic.

Traffic reached 41.3 million passengers in the first half of 2019, a statement said.

The closure of the southern runway for a complete rehabilitation programme from April 16 to May 30 halved the hub’s runway capacity leading to a reduction of 32 per cent in passenger flights.

Total passenger flights during the first six months of 2019 totalled 178,383, down 11.6 per cent from last year, also due to the 45-day closure of the runway.

India remained DXB’s top destination country by passenger numbers, with traffic for the first half reaching 5.7 million. Most passengers came from Mumbai and Delhi.

Saudi Arabia was number two on the list with 3.1 million travellers, followed closely by the United Kingdom with 2.8 million. Other destination countries include Pakistan (1.9 million), the US (1.5 million), and China (1.2 million).

The top three cities were London (1.6 million), Mumbai (1.1 million) and Jeddah with just over one million.

Total wait times were reduced 25 per cent in the first half of the year thanks to DXB’s operations centre which uses real-time information to improve service and efficiency, as well as smart gates that help passengers pass quickly through immigration.

A total of 35 million bags, down 3.9 per cent year-on-year passed through the airport’s 175km long baggage system during the first half.

The airport handled 1,036,474 tonnes of airfreight between January and June, down 18.3 per cent year-on-year.

A significant portion of the cargo traffic at DXB is bellyhold which was impacted by the southern runway rehabilitation programme, the statement added.