UAE Airports expect 140 million passengers as national airline fleets reach 521 aircraft

UAE airports are experiencing a surge in passenger traffic, fueled by expansions in airline services and a resurgence of confidence in travel.

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According to Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), aviation authorities in the nation anticipate that 140 million passengers could travel through UAE airports by the end of the year.

In 2023, UAE airports surpassed the significant milestone of accommodating 134 million passengers, showcasing the robustness and competitiveness of the UAE aviation sector. Al Suwaidi attributed this achievement to the sector's ability to instill considerable international confidence, positioning the UAE as a leading hub for air travel in the region.

Detailed statistics provided by Al Suwaidi illustrate the significant volume of passenger movements recorded in 2023. UAE airports assisted with 38 million arrivals, 37.805 million departures, and 58.328 million transit passengers during the year. The resurgence of tourism and the successful hosting of significant international conferences toward the end of the year were major contributors to this growth.

Looking ahead to 2024, Al Suwaidi expressed optimism for further growth in passenger traffic, potentially reaching the milestone of 140 million passengers. He highlighted ongoing expansions at international airports, such as the inauguration of Zayed International Airport (Terminal A) and the ongoing expansion at Al Maktoum International Airport, which will enable UAE carriers to expand their flight operations to various destinations.

It is worth noting that the UAE aviation sector is robust, with 924 aircraft registered in the country and a fleet of more than 521 aircraft operated by national carriers, as highlighted by Al Suwaidi. Furthermore, he highlighted the abundance of aviation-related businesses, including both domestic and international repair shops, schools offering aviation-specific training, and hospitals that focus on civil aviation patients.

Looking ahead, Al Suwaidi outlined strategic projects aimed at enhancing airspace management and ensuring smooth air traffic flow. Over AED 700 million ($191 million) has been allocated to upgrade services at the Sheikh Zayed Air Navigation Centre over the next decade. He reiterated the authority's commitment to implementing various transformative projects and initiatives aimed at fostering the economic and operational development of the aviation sector.

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