Traffic at Dubai’s second airport Dubai World Central (DWC) increased 6.4 per cent last year on the back of favourable new visa regulation for Russians, the operator said.
DWC welcomed 904,940 passengers in 2017 compared to 850,633 in 2016 thanks to a surge in traffic on Eastern European routes.
Dubai Airports said the growth could partly be attributed to a government decision in January 2017 to grant Russian passport holders visa-on-arrival entry to the UAE. Overall Russian tourist arrivals were up 121 per cent to 530,000
Russian passenger numbers surged 955.4 per cent to 279,100 and there was also a 34.6 per cent increase in arrivals from Western Europe to 94,452 following the launch of a service by Condor, which connects DWC on to German cities.
Overall Russian tourist arrivals to Dubai were up 121 per cent in 2017 to 530,000.
Wizz Air, Azur Air, Royal Flight, Condor and Ural Airlines were the top airlines for traffic contribution.
Freight volumes were up 8.3 per cent to 972,295 tonnes but flight movements were down 11.6 per cent to 34,198. This was offset by a 36.3 per cent increase in average passengers per flight to 129 compared to 94 the previous year.
“The airport is gaining popularity among airlines operating point to point routes, thanks to the unique advantages of convenience, quick turnaround times, and cost efficiency that DWC offers to carriers and passengers,” said Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths.
“DWC will have much more to offer to our airline partners and customers in 2018 as the project to expand the capacity of the passenger terminal building from five million to 26 million passengers per annum is nearing completion.”
Dubai is spending about $36bn to expand the airport but has delayed the opening of the first phase until this year.
Dubai’s main airport Dubai International grew 5.5 per cent to 88.2 million in 2017 but it is expected to expand more rapidly to 2020.