Dubai follows declining cargo trend
While passenger numbers continue to soar at the United Arab Emirates with air traffic movements closing in on 2,000 movements per day, with 57,773 flights handled across the country in September – an increase of 9.7 per cent year-on-year – air cargo has not been as fortunate. Following the trend visible at other cargo hubs around the world, cargo performance has weakened noticeably in the second half of the year. For the year to August, Dubai International handled a total of 1.43 million tonnes of cargo, a contraction of 1.2 per cent, while August alone was down 7.9 per cent. Dubai Airports noted that air freight traffic has been affected by economic uncertainty in the US and Europe, a familiar refrain as the industry points to the general health of the global economy. Overall, Dubai, home to Emirates and flydubai, accounts for more than half the country’s air traffic movements, handling 25,874 flights in September. That eclipses the UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi, home of Etihad Airways, where Abu Dhabi International Airport handled just 8,354 aircraft movements, or 14 of the UAE’s total in September. Sharjah, where local LCC Air Arabia has its main hub, handles around 5,000 aircraft movements per month with the rest of the UAE airports –Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai, as well as airports in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah – handling just over 1,000 movements.