Despite a 0.8-percent, year-over-year, rise in December, 2011 freight volumes at Dubai International Airport fell 1.5 percent from 2010, dropping from 2.22 million tonnes to 2.19 million tonnes. Airport officials partly attribute this loss to a dive in Asian exports, which was propelled by financial troubles in the U.S. and the eurozone.
Dubai airport handled 189,593 tonnes of cargo last month, up from 188,103 tonnes in December 2010. Unfortunately, the Middle Eastern airport was contending with slightly lower cargo volumes throughout the year as a result of “eroded customer confidence,” according to a press release.
Passenger traffic remained high in 2011, however. Dubai airport welcomed 50.98 million travelers last year, an 8-percent, year-over-year, jump. Airport officials consider this feat — and the fact that cargo volumes only dropped modestly — notable.
“In a year that was characterized by economic uncertainty, political instability and high oil prices, [such growth was] driven by new routes and additional frequencies as airlines capitalized on Dubai’s attractiveness as a business and tourism destination and efficiency as a transfer hub,” Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths said in a statement. He noted that the trend is likely to bleed over into 2012, as Emirates and flydubai will each receive new aircraft deliveries in 2012.
The recent launch of flydubai Cargo will also improve freight volumes, some airport officials project. According to a press release, flydubai Cargo is expected to eventually carry close to 1,500 tonnes of cargo each month in the belly of Boeing 737-800 NG planes. More than have of this cargo will be transit freight, officials from the carrier predict.