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KHALEEJ TIMES, Thursday, Mar 03, 2022 | Rajab 30, 1443

Fourth quarter surge at Abu Dhabi International boosts passenger traffic to 5.26 million in 2021

Emirates: Abu Dhabi Airports released its 2021 passenger traffic results, confirming Abu Dhabi International Airport welcomed 5.26 million guests in 2021 thanks to a fourth quarter surge that saw 2.43 million, which equates to 46 per cent of the full year’s passenger numbers, pass through the UAE capital’s hub.

Full year figures reveal that 5,262,376 passengers were served compared to 5,570,176 in 2020 representing a drop of 5.5 per cent as the airport and the industry continued to experience dampened demand due to travel restrictions and eroded consumer confidence brought on by the global pandemic.

The airport recorded 74,176 flights during the year compared to 61,034 in 2020, an increase of 21.5 per cent.

“The sharp rise in passenger traffic during the last three months of the year is a clear indication that the recovery is underway and gaining momentum,” said Shareef Al Hashmi, CEO, Abu Dhabi Airports. “While the Omicron variant may have a temporary effect on demand during the early part of 2022, we expect traffic to double at Abu Dhabi International this year to reach 10.7 million as vaccination programmes progress, government restrictions in markets around the world ease and consumer confidence rebounds.”

Abu Dhabi International’s network also expanded significantly during 2021 with 103 destinations now being served compared to 75 destinations in 2020.

The top five countries in terms of passenger volumes in 2021 were India (932,949), Pakistan (550,728), Egypt (446,883), United States (254,201) and KSA (244,954).

The busiest destinations being served by AUH included Cairo (372,456), Islamabad (209,280), Delhi (197,012), Lahore (184,315) and Dhaka (182,983).

Service enhancements

Notable during 2021 were the robust service scores recorded at Abu Dhabi International across a number of metrics including airport cleanliness (95 per cent), feeling safe and secure (95 per cent), happiness index (94 per cent) and per centassenger health & wellness (92.9 per cent).

The overall satisfaction score as measured by Airports Council International was 92 per cent.

A total of 5,377,208 bags were processed through the airport’s baggage system in 2021, including 3,878,132 departure bags that had a delivery success rate of 99.8 per cent.

“Our focus on health, safety and the wellbeing of AUH travellers significantly enhanced our passenger experience during the year as we launched a fully equipped PCR facility, touchless technology, self-baggage drop systems and smart queuing technology to prevent crowding during peak operations,” said Al Hashmi.

Cargo volumes up 31.8 per cent

Abu Dhabi Airports also released its 2021 cargo traffic results today which confirm Abu Dhabi International Airport handled 711,715 tonnes of freight in 2021 an increase of 31.8 per cent compared to the 540,144 tonnes handled in 2020.

The surge in volumes was largely attributed to increases in shipments of general cargo and special products including express, temperature-controlled, vulnerable cargo and pharmaceuticals.

Mail volumes were also on the rise in 2021 with 8,767 tonnes moving through Abu Dhabi International’s cargo facility, an increase of 13.1 per cent compared to the 7,749 tonnes handled in 2020.

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