Passenger traffic at the Al Maktoum airport in Dubai World Central jumped 79.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, operator Dubai Airports revealed on Thursday.
Dubai’s second airport welcomed 257,813 passengers during the first three months of the year, compared to 143,374 in Q1 2015.
The sharp increase in passenger traffic was attributed to increased frequencies and growing demand on routes operated by flydubai and Qatar Airways.
The airport is currently served by 16 passenger carriers who operate over 190 flights weekly to 25 international destinations.
“We are very pleased with the growth at DWC and expect the trend to continue,” said Dubai Airports chief executive officer Paul Griffiths.
“The growth projection is based on two key factors. First is the planned move of flydubai’s entire operation to DWC by end of 2017.
“Second is the sheer convenience of using the facility. It takes only minutes for passengers to get from kerb to gate and the arrivals process is similarly efficient. Customers who use DWC once, usually come back as a result.”
However, cargo volumes at DWC dropped 6.9 per cent in the first three months of 2016, down to 198,295 tonnes compared to 213,006 tonnes in Q1 2015.
No reason for specified for the decline.
At present 18 scheduled pure cargo operators operate to 57 destinations from DWC.
Dubai is boosting its aviation hub in DWC and earlier this month Dubai Airports chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum confirmed that the first tender to expand Al Maktoum International Airport to 120 million passengers per year will be awarded on May 28.
In March, officials announced that the airport will expand from its current capacity of five million passengers per year to handle up to 26.5 million passengers per year.
The first phase of the extension will increase the built up area of the passenger terminal from the existing 66,107 square metres to 145,926 sqm. This is set to be completed by June 2017.
Al Maktoum International Airport will ultimately have the capacity to handle over 220 million passengers per year.
Sheikh Ahmed said at the time that the expansion was aimed at helping position Dubai as the “aviation capital of the world.”
Dubai International Airport is already the world’s busiest for international passenger traffic and welcomed 78 million visitors in 2015. Average monthly traffic stood at 6.5 million passengers last year.
Looking ahead, the emirate is hoping to attract 126 million passengers per year by 2020 and around 200 million passengers annually by 2030.