Dubai, UAE – April 25, 2012 – Dubai International continues to be a vital transit hub and destination for many South Africans, with the number of passengers travelling from South Africa’s three main cities to or through Dubai surging almost 40 per cent in the first three months of this year.
Passenger traffic between South Africa and Dubai has surged 39,87 per cent in the first quarter of 2012, growing from 219,590 passengers in the same period last year to 307,132 this year.
This is a result of a 20 per cent increase in capacity provided by Emirates Airline, with the number of weekly flights increasing to 42 in the first three months of 2012 from 35 flights at the same time in 2011. Emirates flies to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
The attractiveness of Dubai International as global hub is instrumental in this growth, allowing South African visitors to connect to dozens of destinations worldwide. Dubai International has a network that spans 220 destinations served by more than 150 airlines.
A growing expatriate community in Dubai is another factor in boosting passenger numbers. Tourism was another key driver with an increasing number of South African tourists visiting Dubai. Similarly, travellers from around the world used Dubai International as a gateway to South Africa. Oxford Economics estimates in a study released last year that the benefit in 2009 to South Africa’s tourism industry in terms of passengers flying with Emirates to South Africa totalled $0,2bn.
Cape Town was one of the Dubai Airports’ biggest growth markets in the first quarter of the year lifting South Africa into the top 20 fastest growing markets for Dubai Airports.
This growth was not confined to South Africa, with 1,301,813 passengers travelling between Dubai and Africa. Traffic numbers were boosted by Emirates’ launch of new services to Harare and Lusaka in February this year.
“South Africa is a growing and important market,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports. “Travellers from South Africa and the rest of the continent are increasingly realising that Dubai International offers an efficient way to connect Africa to virtually anywhere in the world and vice versa. The airport also provides a greater variety of services than many of its competitors which means the time our passengers spend in our airports is time well spent.”
Dubai Airports continue to expand its facilities to cope with the growth in passenger numbers. Early next year, Dubai International will open Concourse 3, the world’s first dedicated A380 facility, taking the airport’s total capacity to 75 million passengers a year. During 2012, Dubai International is expected to welcome 56.5 million passengers.
Passenger traffic at Dubai International, the world’s fourth busiest hub for international passengers, continued its double-digit growth for the third consecutive month in March, reaching 4,848,320, an increase of 15.4 per cent compared to 4,201,708 passengers during the corresponding month in 2011.
March was also the third consecutive month that Dubai International recorded passenger numbers exceeding the 4.5 million mark, propelling traffic in the first quarter to 14,261,606, a surge of 16.1 per cent over the same period last year.