Passenger traffic from eastern Europe, Asia and South America helped Dubai International Airport record its highest-ever January traffic.
Dubai Airports says 8,037,008 people went through DXB last month, up by 9.7 per cent year-on-year from the 7,327,637 of a year ago.
Last year the airport reported a record 83.6 million passengers, up by 7.2 per cent on 2015.
“It’s an auspicious start to what is sure to be another record-breaking year for DXB,” said Paul Griffiths, the chief executive of Dubai Airports.
“It provides further impetus to our DXB Plus Programme, which will enhance service and boost capacity at DXB by applying technology to improved processes.
“It also fuels our ongoing efforts to improve the customer experience with world-leading Wi-Fi, retail, F&B and a wide array of offers ranging from spas to VIP service to live music.”
Eastern Europe remained the fastest-growing market at 32.5 per cent, followed by Asia at 26.4 per cent. The number of passengers to South America grew by 18.6 per cent, while those from the Australasia region rose by 15.8 per cent.
“The strategic pinpointing of new routes, led mostly by Emirates and flydubai as the biggest two DXB incumbents, has been key to passenger traffic expansion, despite the airport getting ever congested,” said Saj Ahmad, an analyst at StrategicAero Research in London. “Flydubai in particular has had success in CIS/Russian cities where previously no services to and from Dubai existed.”
In January, the UAE announced that Russian visitors can now get a 30-day visa on arrival, although the effective date and cost of the visa was not revealed.
Of the 14.9 million tourists who visited Dubai last year, 5 per cent came from Russia, CIS and eastern Europe, according to Dubai Tourism. The emirate received 240,000 visitors from Russia, up by 14 per cent over 2015.
South Asia accounted for 18 per cent of the tourist numbers, while India was the largest source market for Dubai overall, with 1.8 million visitors last year, up by 12 per cent over 2015.
Dubai Tourism did not provide tourist numbers for South America.
Routes to the Indian subcontinent from Dubai International remained the busiest in January with 1.87 million passengers, followed by those to western Europe at 1.7 million passengers, then the Arabian Gulf countries at 1.36 million passengers.
Among the popular destinations from the airport were London, Doha, Kuwait and Mumbai.
The increase in passenger numbers was attributed to the holiday season and Dubai Shopping Festival.
Flight movements totalled 36,592 in January 2017, up 2.1 per cent compared with the 35,841 movements recorded in January last year. The average number of passengers per flight movement increased to 230 compared with 215 during the corresponding period in 2016.
Cargo volume handled at the airport in January rose by 3.4 per cent to 208,271 tonnes year-on-year, up from 201,483 tonnes a year ago.
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