Abu Dhabi International Airport's H1 passenger traffic soars 67% amid demand growth

The hub handled 10.3 million passengers in the January-June period, up from 6.2 million in the same period last year

Abu Dhabi International Airport recorded 67% growth in passenger traffic during the first half of 2023. Photo: Abu Dhabi Airports
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Passenger traffic through Abu Dhabi International Airport jumped 67 per cent year-on-year in the first six months of 2023 as the hub expanded its route network and added more airline customers.

A total of 10.2 million passengers used the airport in the January to June period, up from 6.2 million in the same time last year, state-owned operator Abu Dhabi Airports said in a statement on Thursday.

“Our passenger traffic figures for the first half of 2023 highlight our extensive efforts to support Abu Dhabi’s increasingly vibrant business, tourism, and aviation sectors,” Frank McCrorie, chief operations officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, said.

“Our aim is to build on this momentum, reinforcing Abu Dhabi International Airport’s position as a preferred airport in the region.”

The growth comes as the airport's home carrier Etihad Airways launched new routes, boosted flight frequencies and resumed destinations suspended during the pandemic in response to a robust rebound in air travel demand.

Global air traffic recovered in May to 96.1 per cent of its pre-pandemic levels in the same month of 2019, with Middle East airlines leading the rebound, the International Air Transport Association said in its latest available report.

Middle East airlines in May fully recovered their international passenger traffic levels, which reached 17.2 per cent above 2019's performance, the industry body said in July.

Abu Dhabi plans to increase the tourism sector's contribution to its gross domestic product to 12 per cent by 2030, up from 5 per cent this year, as the emirate continues to promote itself as a travel and culture destination, Saood Al Hosani, undersecretary of the emirate's Department of Culture and Tourism, told The National in June.

The UAE capital is intensifying its promotion and marketing campaigns and is “on track” to meet its target of attracting 24 million visitors this year, up from 18 million last year, Mr Al Hosani said.

Abu Dhabi International Airport expanded its network with 114 destinations served by 27 airlines during the first half of the year, it said.

The destinations with the highest passenger traffic included Mumbai (461,081 travellers), London (374,017 travellers), Delhi (331,722 travellers), Kochi (316,460 travellers) and Doha (261,117 travellers).

The airport handled 259,461 tonnes of freight in the first half of the year, it said. Abu Dhabi International handled 297,549 tonnes of air freight during the first half of 2022.

“Cargo is expected to gain momentum at Abu Dhabi International Airport which is primed to emerge as a leading air cargo and logistics hub by forging new strategic partnerships,” the operator said.

In April 2023, Abu Dhabi International Airport welcomed the inaugural flight of SF Express, one of China's biggest delivery and logistics firms, as the global freight company's launched its regional operations from the UAE capital.

Updated: August 03, 2023, 3:05 PM