Dubai airs leading position

Dubai International Airport highlighted its position as the busiest airport in the region after announcing its quarterly results.

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By  John Irish Published  April 8, 2003

Despite uncertainties in the Gulf, Dubai International Airport reported yesterday (April 07) a significant increase in passengers for the first quarter of 2003.

The region’s main transit point between the Far East and Europe registered 4.28 million visitors, a growth of 13% over the same period last year. January was the strongest month with a 26% increase in passengers. However, with war breaking out in March, the airport saw a drop of almost 6% from March 2002.

“The first quarter passenger movement was boosted by strong growth in the months of January and February. In 2002, we had 16 million passenger throughput and this year we hope to have around 18 million,” said HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of the department of civil aviation.

Dubai International Airport, which is in the midst of a US $2.5 billion expansion project, hopes to increase the number of passengers to 30 million by 2010.

In addition to passenger growth, cargo figures rose from 165,110 tonnes of freight in the first quarter of last year to 208,071 in the same period this year.

Significantly, one of Dubai International Airport’s most renowned attractions, its Duty Free area, also witnessed a 16% growth in first quarter sales over 2002, reaching Dhs 294 million ($82 million)

“Dubai Cargo Village and Dubai Duty Free have shown substantial growth. With this in mind we have put into action our requirement for the next phase of Dubai international Airport expansion,” said Sheikh Ahmed.

“With the support of the government of Dubai it is our aim to be among the top twenty airports in the near future.”

The expansion plans comprise a third terminal, an upgrading of the current Terminal 2, a second and third concourse for passengers and a new cargo terminal.

According to officials at Bahrain International Airport, which is attempting to reaffirm its position as Dubai’s major regional competitor, passenger inflow in the early part of the year was also up on the previous year.

“We saw a big jump in passenger figures in 2002 and we saw a very healthy continuation of that in January [2003] with a 21% increase over January 2002. February [2003] ended 17% more than February 2002,” Sheikh Hisham Al Khalifa, assistant undersecretary for Bahrain’s airport services told Arabian Business.

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