Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 6:09 am

RAK Airport set to register 52% rise in passenger traffic

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Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) International Airport will mark 2016 as the most successful year in its history with record passenger numbers, aircraft movements and cargo handled, said Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Chairman, Department of Civil Aviation, Ras Al Khaimah.

The airport is set to welcome a record 471,432 passengers this year, an increase of 52 per cent, against 309,591 passengers in 2015.

Aircraft movements, including all categories, in the first ten months of 2016 were at 11,364.

The airport has set a record in cargo handling in the ten-month period of 2016 by almost doubling to 98 per cent at 3,100 tonnes from 1,600 tonnes for the January-October 2015 period.

It is now projected to reach 3,700 tonnes of cargo in 2016, against 2,000 tonnes in 2015, an increase of 88 per cent.

“These remarkable increases in passengers, cargo and aircraft movements are due to the vision and support to the aviation industry by His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, increasing operational efficiency and dynamic planning and swift decision making,” Sheikh Salem said.

“The overall growth is also owing to Qatar Airways starting its operations from February 2016 at 4 flights per week, Air India Express starting in March 2016 at 4 flights per week and increased movements from Air Arabia to various destinations,” he added.

Passenger traffic

According to the 10-month statistical data released by the Airport Authority, the airport received 389,740 passengers in the January-October 2016 period against 235,145 passengers in the corresponding period in 2015, recording an impressive 66 per cent increase.

The data shows that the airport recorded 148,510 arrivals, 159,372 departures and 81,846 transits. The highest was in April 2016 when a total of 46,465 passengers (19,329 arrivals and 18,145 departures) used the airport. Departures peaked in March with 20,413 and the number of transits recorded a high of 9,681 in October, 2016.

“We also see significant boom in tourism arrivals, which will translate into increased passenger turnout at our airport.  The emirate is all set to attract more than one million visitors by 2018,” he said.

Aircraft movements

Aircraft movements, including all categories, in the first ten months of 2016 were at 11,364.

Commercial aircraft movements for the first 10-months was 5,210 compared to 3,796 for the corresponding period in 2015, an increase of 37 per cent and are projected to grow 34 per cent in 2016 to 6,364 from 4,736 movements in 2015.

“This impressive growth is because of our excellent service to the passengers and world class facilities offered to the airlines and stakeholders. The higher aircraft movements indicate the importance the airport authority assigns to adoption of the latest technology to ensure safety and security. The increase in the number of civil training movement shows that RAK Airport continues to be largely patronised by trainers with assured safety measures,” Sheikh Salem added.

Cargo growth

“We expect cargo to become a key contributor to the GDP of Ras Al Khaimah and therefore the airport is set to develop its cargo infrastructure to meet the growing demand,” Sheikh Salem said.

“The marked increase in cargo handled in the 10-month period is indicative of the uptake in the economic activities in the country and exporters find RAK Airport facilities affordable and convenient,” he added.

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