Dubai: Dubai International recorded a 5.8 per cent increase in half-year passenger numbers but a dip in June monthly traffic due to Ramadan coinciding with a traditionally slow period, operator Dubai Airports said Sunday.

The airport, which is the busiest in the world for international passenger traffic, handled 40.5 million passengers in the six months to June 30 compared to 38.29 million in the same period a year earlier, according to a statement by the operator.

The top destinations by passenger numbers in the first half were India with 5.6 million passengers, Saudi Arabia with 3.2 million, the United Kingdom with 2.8 million, Pakistan with 2.1 million and the United States with 1.6 million.

The number of aircraft landings and take-offs increased by 3.8 per cent to 207,439 and cargo volumes rose by 3.8 per cent to 1.28 million tonnes.

Strong numbers

Dubai Airports chief executive Paull Griffiths said in the statement that the airport is expecting strong numbers for July [yet to be released by airport operator] due to the start of the summer holiday season and Eid Al Fitr holiday.

“In July we have seen very high volumes, particularly in connecting traffic as vacationers increasingly choose Dubai as an intercontinental hub as well as being a popular destination in itself,” he said.

Monthly passenger numbers fell in June by 1 per cent to 5.85 million, which the airport said was due to the impact of Ramadan on travel patterns during what is a traditionally slow month. Landings and take-offs increased by 3.9 per cent to 32,368 in June and the amount of cargo handled increased by 3.9 per cent to 226,175.

On Wednesday August 3, the airport closed for several hours after an Emirates Boeing 777 caught fire on one of its two runways. The airport then reopened with just one runway functioning for 29 hours and operated with capacity restrictions for more than 72 hours. Subsequent flight cancellations and delays have affected thousands of passengers.