By Ed Attwood
Passenger numbers drop by 2.5% in May, runway refurbishment to be finished before Eid
The number of passengers passing through Dubai International dropped by 2.5 percent in May after the airport closed its two runways consecutively during the same period.
Traffic fell to 5.01m in May, as aircraft movements dropped by 26.6 percent to 22,856. Freight throughput declined by 13.3 percent to 182,028 tonnes, as most dedicated freighters shifted their operations to nearby Al Maktoum International Airport.
In a statement, Dubai Airports said that many airlines had deployed larger aircraft during the runway closures, boosting the average number of passengers per flight by 22 percent compared to the same month a year earlier.
The airport also warned that traffic growth would drop or remain flat until the refurbishment programme is complete, which is expected to be on July 20.
“We are extremely pleased that we were able to top 5 million passengers in May despite being reduced to a single runway,” said Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths. “Our early consultation with airlines, careful planning and slot management has allowed our airlines to accommodate almost the same number of passengers as last year by deploying larger aircraft while protecting service levels for our passengers.
‘We can look forward to renewed growth in August when both our runways are returned to service in time for the Eid and summer holidays.”
The construction work at Dubai International involves the resurfacing of the entire 4,000-metre long northern runway, which is nearing the end of its design life, as well as the upgrading of runway lighting and construction of additional taxiways and rapid exits on the southern runway.
More than 300 flights a week are expected to depart from Al Maktoum International Airport during this period.