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.


S&P downgrades trio of Dubai developers as pandemic hits property and retail

Updated 34 min 16 sec ago

S&P downgrades trio of Dubai developers as pandemic hits property and retail

  • Gulf states are being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic that has come at a time of weak oil prices

RIYADH: The credit ratings of three Dubai property companies were downgraded by S&P as the coronavirus pandemic hits confidence in the retail and real estate sectors.
S&P Global Ratings reduced the credit ratings for the real estate developer Emaar Properties as well as Emaar Malls to +BB from -BBB with a negative forward outlook, adding that it sees a “weakening across all its business segments” in 2020. S&P also cut its rating for DIFC Investments to +BB from -BBB, while keeping a stable outlook.
Gulf states are being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic that has come at a time of weak oil prices, heaping pressure on governments, companies and employees.
The ratings agency expects the emirate’s economy to shrink by 11 percent this year
“The supply-demand imbalance in the realty sector appears to have been exacerbated by the pandemic. We now expect to see international demand for Dubai’s property to be subdued, and the fall in residential prices to be steeper than we had expected, lingering well into 2021” S&P reported.
Despite easing restrictions and the opening of the economy, S&P said that overall macroeconomic conditions remained challenging.
Global travel restrictions and social distancing constraints “significantly weigh on Dubai’s tourism and hospitality sectors” the rating agency reported.
Still, Dubai’s tourism chief was upbeat on the emirate’s prospects when international tourism resumes.
“Once we do get to the other side, as we start to talk about next year and later on, we see very much a quick uptick. Because once things normalize, people will go back to travel again,” Helal Al-Marri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing told AFP in an interview.