A project to expand the passenger terminal capacity at DWC from 5 million to 26 million per annum is nearing completion. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: Passenger traffic at Dubai World Central (DWC) rose 6.4 per cent in 2017 to reach 900,000 passengers compared to 850,633 in 2016, driven by an easing of visa regulations to Russian citizens.

Operator Dubai Airports said the traffic in 2017 was boosted by an increase in traffic on Eastern European routes, which recorded a spike of 168 per cent to take the passenger numbers to 452,631.

Russia was the single largest contributor to traffic from Eastern Europe after the UAE started offering visas on arrival to Russian visitors. Nearly 279,100 Russian passengers used DWC in 2017, according to a statement from the operator on Wednesday.

Western Europe also recorded a rise in traffic, with passengers from there reaching 94,452 — up nearly 35 per cent. Germany was the largest contributor in the region, supported by the launch of service by Condor connecting DWC with multiple cities across Germany.

“DWC will have much more to offer to our airline partners and customers in 2018 as the project to expand the capacity of the passenger terminal building from 5 million to 26 million passengers per annum is nearing completion,” said Paul Griffiths, chief executive officer of Dubai Airports.

Freight volumes at DWC also ticked up, reaching 972,295 tonnes during 2017 from 897,998 tonnes in 2016.

DWC is the second airport in the city where Dubai International Airport still sees the vast majority of traffic. In 2017, passenger traffic at Dubai International reached 88.2 million, as the airport retained its position as the world’s top airport for international passengers.