Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central (DWC). Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Passenger traffic at Dubai World Central (DWC) more than doubled in the first half of 2019 as many flights had to be diverted there while a runway was closed at the city’s main airport.

Operator Dubai Airports said passenger traffic jumped to 1.2 million from 517,813 in the same half of 2018. This was during a 45-day closure of the southern runway at Dubai International Airport from April 16 to May 30.

More than 900,000 of the 1.2 million passengers in the first half were recorded in that 45-day period, or the equivalent of the airport’s entire annual passenger traffic in 2018.

“The 45-day period was a major challenge for DWC as the airport had to accommodate a massive spike in both passenger and flight traffic — going overnight from 10 flights a day to 80 flights on peak days,” said Paul Griffiths, chief executive officer of Dubai Airports.

Russia was the top destination country in the first six months of the year, followed by Saudi Arabia, India, and Germany.

For cargo, however, DWC saw a year-on-year decline of 5.3 per cent, handling 450,000 tonnes of freight in the first half of 2019. The operator attributed that to “softening of the overall air cargo market.”