LONDON: The number of passengers passing through Dubai International Airport rose by 2.1 percent in October compared with the same month last year, the operator Dubai Airports said on Monday.
The increase follows a drop in passenger traffic in September and a wider slowdown in the number of travelers passing through the emirate’s airport over the past year.
“Dubai International has been on record stating that passenger growth would be somewhat lower than in previous years, so this current performance is in line with my expectations,” said aviation analyst Saj Ahmad from Strategic Aero Research.
“That said, the airport has still grown over 2017 and will likely eclipse its 2018 target of handling over 90 million passengers and remain the world’s busiest international airport,” he said.
Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths told a conference in Dubai last month that he expected just over 90 million passengers to use the airport this year, according to Reuters.
A total of 7 million passengers used the airport in October, compared with 6.9 million in the same month last year.
In September, passenger traffic fell by 0.2 percent compared with the previous year. The decline was blamed on the Eid Al-Adha holiday — with an associated spike in travel — falling in September last year.
Total passenger traffic in 2017 rose by just 5.5 percent year-on-year to reach 88.24 million people. This is a slower rate of growth than the 7.2 percent increase in 2015-16 and the 10.7 percent jump recorded between 2014-2015.
Dubai Airports launched its Strategic Plan 2020 in 2011 with the aim of increasing passenger capacity from 60 million a year to 90 million by 2018.
Under the strategy, the number of airport stands has been increased and terminal buildings expanded.
As demand grows, further work on the airport’s infrastructure will be needed, said Ahmad.
“Demand is not infinite — the airport is operating at nearly 98 percent capacity, so it stands to reason that only so much growth can be absorbed,” he said.
DXB handled 237,499 tons of cargo in October, a 2.5 percent increase on the previous month. Overall cargo volumes have fallen year-to-date by 0.9 percent to 2.1 million tons.