Dubai airport handles 89 million passengers in 2018, misses target

  • Dubai International Airport handled 89.1 million passengers in 2018, a rise from one percent in 2017, operator Dubai Airports said on Monday.
  • This marked its weakest annual growth rate in at least a decade, and short of its 90.3 million target.
  • The airport saw growth slow throughout 2018 after 15 years of strong increases. Among other factors, the Gulf's economic slowdown because of low oil prices has dented the region's travel industry.
A picture taken on August 21, 2017 in Dubai International Airport.
NurPhoto | Getty Images
A picture taken on August 21, 2017 in Dubai International Airport.

Dubai International Airport handled 89.1 million passengers in 2018, missing its target but remaining the world's busiest for international travelers.

Passenger traffic rose one percent last year, operator Dubai Airports said on Monday, its weakest annual growth rate in at least a decade and short of its 90.3 million target.

Dubai airport, the hub for airlines Emirates and flydubai, saw growth slow throughout 2018 after 15 years of strong increases. Among other factors, the Gulf's economic slowdown because of low oil prices has dented the region's travel industry.

Dubai Airports Chief Executive Paul Griffiths had told Reuters in February 2018 that double-digit passenger growth could resume as early as this year, aided by closer ties between Emirates and flydubai.

Dubai airport has been the world's busiest for international travelers since 2014 when it took the title from London's Heathrow where passenger traffic grew 2.7 percent to a total 80 million passengers in 2018.

In December, Dubai airport passenger traffic fell by 1.7 percent to 7.7 million passengers.

Dubai airport has previously said it believes it can overtake Atlantic and Beijing airports to become the world's busiest overall by 2021.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest, handled 98.6 million passengers in the first 11 months of 2018. It has yet to release annual figures.