Dubai: An increasing number of passengers are choosing to fly in and out of Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC), Dubai’s second airport, according to figures released by operator Dubai Airports on Monday.

While annual passenger numbers declined in 2015 due to a temporary spike in services the year earlier, the fourth quarter saw a 62 per cent increase driven by new, permanent services.

The airport, which opened to passengers in October 2013, handled 179,781 passengers over the three months to December 31, 2015, compared to 110,920 in the same period a year earlier, according to an emailed statement by Dubai Airports. The operator said this was because of the 70 new weekly services flydubai started from the airport in October.

Full-year passenger numbers fell by 45.2 per cent to 463,236 compared to 845,046 a year earlier. This is because in mid-2014 DWC temporarily handled some of Dubai International’s passenger traffic as that airport underwent refurbishment.

Freighter volumes

The airport’s main focus continues to be freighter traffic. Full-year air cargo volumes increased 7.7 per cent to 888,714 tonnes, compared to 824,933 tonnes in 2014. However, there was a 9.9 per cent decline in fourth-quarter activity, with 228,770 tonnes of freight handled in the three months to December 2015.

Over the fourth quarter the number of aircraft landings and take-offs increased 3.1 per cent to 12,052, while full-year movements fell 11.8 per cent to 42,055.