Passenger traffic growth at Dubai International airport slowed to 7.2 per cent in 2016 compared to 11 per cent in the previous year.

While the airport exceeded the monthly average passenger traffic of 7 million six times in 2016, it experienced 1 per cent contraction in passenger traffic in  June and a slump in cargo traffic during the entire third quarter of 2016.

Total passenger traffic reached 83.6 million for the entire year, compared to 78.01 million in 2015.

The initial passenger traffic forecast for 2016 was at 85 million, which was later revised to 83 million.

It is not the first time the airport’s passenger traffic growth slowed in recent years. Despite registering a double-digit compounded average growth each year between 2010 and 2015, annual growths in 2011 and 2014 were at 8 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively.

Year Passenger traffic (million) Year-on-year growth
2010 47.26  –
2011 50.98 8%
2012 57.68 13%
2013 66.43 15%
2014 70.48 6%
2015 78.01 11%
2016 83.6 7%
2017e 89 6%

Aircraft movements reached 418,220, which marked a 2.8 per cent growth year-on-year.

Cargo volumes increased 3.4 per cent compared to the previous year to reach 2.59 million tonnes, exceeding the airport’s cargo capacity.

Dubai Airports also said the average number of passengers per flight at Dubai INternational in 2016 increased 4 per cent year-on-year to reach 209.

Dubai Airports, which operates both Dubai International and Al-Maktoum International, forecasts passenger traffic to reach 89 million in 2017.

Passenger capacity at the Dubai International stands at 92.5 million. Dubai Plus, a programme backed by an AED5bn (1.36bn) funding, aims to bring capacity to 110 million passengers through operational enhancements.

“We continue to enable that growth and enhance the passenger experience with top flight infrastructure, streamlined processes and technology,” Paul Griffiths, Dubai Airports CEO, said in a statement.

Despite the rise in passenger traffic in 2016, sales at Dubai Duty Free declined by 3.3 per cent during the year to reach $1.82bn.