Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest for international traffic, received just 1.1 per cent more passengers during the first quarter of 2018 after seeing a slowdown in growth last year.
The emirate’s aviation hub saw 5.5 per cent passenger growth in 2017 to 88.2 million, the lowest increase in nine years.
Dubai Airports said on Wednesday passenger traffic in the first quarter of 2018 increased to 22.74 million from 22.49 million in the same period last year.
This came as traffic rebounded in March after declining 0.6 per cent in the first two months of the year.
The airport received 4.5 per cent more travellers in March compared to the same month in 2017 from 7.51 million to 7.85 million.
Dubai Airports expects passenger traffic to grow 2.4 percent this year to 90.3 million.
CEO Paul Griffiths has predicted it could then return to double-digit passenger growth as early as 2019 helped by a partnership between home airlines Emirates and Flydubai.
However, a 45-day runway closure next year for repair and upgrade work will limit traffic in the April-May period.
Passenger flights in March declined 1.5 per cent from 34,634 to 34,126 and were down 1.8 per cent for the quarter from 100,638 to 98,839 but passengers per flight rose 2.7 per cent from 224 to 230.
London was the top destination for travellers in March with 348,434 passengers, followed by Mumbai at 216,970 and Bangkok with 208,873.
Freight volumes during the month were down 5.7 per cent from 235,503 tonnes to 222,045 tonnes.