By Andy Sambidge
Latest traffic figures reveal impact of regional unrest of travel; total passengers still up 5.8% in March
Passenger traffic at Dubai International Airport rose by 5.8 percent year-on-year in March, Dubai Airports said on Monday, but traffic on Middle Eastern and African routes dropped due to regional unrest.
Passenger numbers on Middle Eastern routes dropped 23,240, while African routes saw a decline of 24,402 passengers as traffic was affected by political unrest in these regions, Dubai Airports added in a statement.
Turmoil across the Arab world has toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia and challenged autocratic regimes in Libya as well as nearby Bahrain and Oman, discouraging travellers.
In March, 4.2 million passengers passed through the world's fourth busiest airport for international passenger traffic.
The number was up 5.8 percent compared to 3.97 million during the same period last year, it said.
The largest increases in total passenger numbers in March were recorded on routes to and from Arab and Gulf countries, up by 137,255 passengers, Indian subcontinent (+84,300 passengers), Asia Pacific (+25,071) and Russia and CIS (+21,165 passengers).
Chief executive Paul Griffiths said: "Passenger traffic growth continues to be robust. At the current levels we are on track to exceed 50 million passengers this year."
The company also said 12.3 million passengers passed through the airport in the first quarter, up seven percent.
International freight volumes handled in March dropped by 3.7 percent.