Passenger traffic at the newly opened Dubai World Central (DWC) Al Maktoum International Airport will grow further in 2014 as slots at Dubai International Airport fill up, an expert has said.
“Al Maktoum International’s initial capacity of approximately seven million passengers will take time to be expanded, especially because some airlines will continue to focus on Dubai International and will shift flights back there,” said Saj Ahmad, an aviation analyst at StrategicAero Research.
“However, many will opt to keep flights operating out of both Dubai airports if only because they know that the frenetic passenger growth in the city means that it would be reckless to give up prime slots at Al Maktoum International, which will only become harder and costlier to get once the airport is fully developed.”
Passenger traffic at DWC amounted to 102,137 during the first three months of this year, airport authorities said. Major regional airlines such as Qatar Airways, Al Jazeera Airways and Gulf Air operate daily flights from Dubai’s second airport.
However, traffic is expected to spike at the new airport due to the runway refurbishment at Dubai International.
A number of carriers, including flydubai, PAL Express, Jet Airways, Royal Brunei Airlines, Yemenia Airlines, Equatorial Congo Airlines, Malaysia Airlines or Ural Airlines, will be relocated to DWC during the upgrade work.
The airport is projected to operate around 600 flights per week during the second quarter of 2014 due to the diverted traffic.
“DWC has started off 2014 in great shape and will leverage the benefits of extra passengers coming its way as airlines shift operations from Dubai International Airport during the runway upgrades there,” said Ahmad.
“Passenger traffic at DWC will peak during the runway works from May through to July and will likely taper off thereafter due to the last few days of Ramadan and the early part of the hot summer season.
“But by the time the third and fourth quarter results are in, the airport will handsomely eclipse the 100,000 passengers it has handled in the first quarter of the year.”
DWC’s freight volumes rose 42.3 per cent to reach 76,816 tonnes in Q1 2014, from 53,974 tonnes in Q1 2013.
Volumes were boosted by a number of new freighter services, including Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and Cargolux starting at DWC, the statement said.
“Equally impressive is the surge in freighter activity, as the 42 per cent rise in cargo volumes, boosted thanks to Emirates Skycargo moving operations to Al Maktoum International, paves the way for long term transhipment efficiency and lower costs,” said Ahmad.
“While the wider global cargo market has slowly started to recover, Al Maktoum International Airport provides a unique platform to enhance freight activities thanks to customised operations that leverage the strength that a new airport and infrastructure bring.
“All in all, Dubai World Central has set the ball rolling – the challenge now is to not only build on that momentum, but to equally expedite the speed of the airport’s development too,” he said.