Dubai keeps place as world’s busiest international airport despite slower growth

It overtook London Heathrow as the busiest for international travelers in 2014. (Shutterstock)
Updated 05 February 2018

Dubai keeps place as world’s busiest international airport despite slower growth

DUBAI: Dubai International Airport said it kept its place as the world’s busiest for international passengers in 2017 even as passenger traffic grew at its slowest pace in at least nine years.
Annual traffic increased 5.5 percent to 88.2 million passengers, compared to 83.6 million in the previous year, operator Dubai Airports said in a statement on Monday.
It was the airport’s slowest growth rate since at least 2009, according to Reuters calculations. The operator forecast a year ago a slightly higher passenger figure of 89 million.
This year, growth will slow to around 2.4 percent with the airport forecasting it would handle 90.3 million passengers.
Dubai airport handles almost entirely international flights and is the hub for the Middle East’s largest airline, Emirates . It overtook London Heathrow as the busiest for international travelers in 2014. Heathrow, which also handles domestic flights, reported 78 million passengers in 2017, up 3.1 percent, according to its website.
Dubai has since set its sights on overtaking the world’s busiest airports in Atlanta and Beijing by 2020.
The number of Russian passengers increased 28 percent to 1.3 million and Chinese travelers grew 19.4 percent to 2.2 million in 2017.
The UAE eased visa requirements for Russian travelers in 2017, and for Chinese passport holders in 2016.
India continued to be the single largest source market country with 12.06 million passengers using the airport, up 5.4 percent.
Annual cargo volumes grew 2.4 percent to 2.7 million tons.


Saudi Aramco shares soar at maximum 10% on market debut

Updated 11 December 2019

Saudi Aramco shares soar at maximum 10% on market debut

  • Company is now world’s largest publicly traded company, bigger than Apple

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco shares opened at 35.2 riyals ($9.39) on Wednesday at the Kingdom’s stock exchange, 10 percent above their IPO price of 32 riyals, in their first day of trading following a record $26.5 billion initial public offering.
Aramco has earlier priced its IPO at 32 riyals ($8.53) per share, the high end of the target range, surpassing the $25 billion raised by Chinese retail giant Alibaba in its 2014 Wall Street debut.
Aramco’s earlier indicative debut price was seen at 35.2 riyals, 10 per cent above IPO price, raising the company’s valuation to $1.88 trillion, Refintiv data showed.
At that price, Aramco is world’s most valuable listed company. That’s more than the top five oil companies – Exxon Mobil, Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and BP – combined.
“Today Aramco will become the largest listed company in the world and (Tadawul) among the top ten global financial markets,” Sarah Al-Suhaimi, chairwoman of the Saudi Arabian stock exchange, said during a ceremony marking the oil giant’s first day of trading.
“Aramco today is the largest integrated oil and gas company in the world. Before Saudi Arabia was the only shareholder of the company, now there are 5 million shareholders including citizens, residents and investors,” said Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the managing director and chief executive of the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
“Aramco’s IPO will enhance the company’s governance and strengthen its standards.”
Amin Nasser, the president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, meanwhile thanked the new shareholders for their confidence and trust of the oil company.
The sale of 1.5 percent of the firm, or three billion shares, is the bedrock of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious strategy to overhaul the oil-reliant economy.
Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange earlier said it will hold an opening auction for Aramco shares for an hour from 9:30 a.m. followed by continuous trading, with price changes limited to plus or minus 10 percent.

The company said Friday it could exercise a “greenshoe” option, selling additional shares to bring the total raised up to $29.4 billion.
The market launch puts the oil behemoth’s value at $1.7 trillion, far ahead of other firms in the trillion-dollar club, including Apple and Microsoft.
Two-thirds of the shares were offered to institutional investors. Saudi government bodies accounted for 13.2 percent of the institutional tranche, investing around $2.3 billion, according to lead IPO manager Samba Capital.
The IPO is a crucial part of Prince Mohammed’s plan to wean the economy away from oil by pumping funds into megaprojects and non-energy industries such as tourism and entertainment.
Watch the video marking Aramco’s opening trading: