Passengers at Dubai International Airport. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Passenger traffic at Dubai International Airport dropped by 2.2 per cent year-on-year during the first quarter of 2019, largely on the back of a reduction in flights as Boeing 737 Max aircraft remain grounded.

Operator Dubai Airports said 22.2 million passengers used the airport, and attributed the drop to “reduced flights and a shift in the timing of the Easter holiday.”

This came as the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority banned commercial operations of all 737 Max’s in the country’s airspace following two fatal accidents involving the model. The latest of which involved an Ethiopian Air plane and killed all 157 people on board, prompting operational bans by regulators across the world.

Dubai Airports also said the total number of passenger flights in the first three months of this year fell 3 per cent year-on-year partially due to grounding of the Max’s that has been in effect since March 13.

In terms of cargo, volumes at Dubai International were up by 4.1 per cent to 641,250 tonnes.