During the same period, the airport handled over 96,000 tonnes of cargo. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah airport saw a footfall of as many as six million passengers in the first half of 2022, a 142.74 per cent increase compared to the year-ago period, and the positive growth rate is expected to continue for the rest of the year as well.

Additionally, the airport witnessed a considerable growth in the number of flights, with a total of 41,189 aircraft operating in H1 compared to 21,709 in the same period last year, registering an increase of 89.73 per cent.

The substantial growth illustrates the confidence that customers have in the service and assistance provided by the airport.

During the same period, the airport handled over 96,000 tonnes of cargo, accounting for an increase of 50.39 per cent, compared to 63,844 tonnes the previous year.

Ali Salim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Airport Authority, said: “The considerable growth in the number of travelers using our airport solidifies the emirate of Sharjah as a preferred destination for travel and business.”

“As part of our efforts to position Sharjah airport as one of the best airports in the region, Sharjah Airport Authority is eager to invest in smart services and solutions that meet the highest international standards, in order to attract more foreign airlines, strengthen our strategic alliances, and maintain the steady rise in the number of passengers.”

Al Midfa further added: “As a result of increased demand for travel through Sharjah airport, particularly in light of the expansion of the network of destinations served by the airport, the positive growth in travel rates is expected to continue in the second half of 2022 as well.”

Growing demand

There has been a surge in flight demand across UAE as residents go ahead with travel plans after the two-year pandemic. Inbound tourist numbers also saw a pickup in the second half of the 2021 and early 2022.

Dubai International Airport (DXB) reported 13.6 million passengers in the first quarter of 2022, its busiest since 2020. DXB, which is the world’s busiest in terms of capacity, raised its full-year 2022 passenger number forecasts to 58.3 million after a sharp increase in traffic. The earlier 2022 estimates were for 55.1 million passengers.

"DXB’s performance over the past successive quarters is nothing short of impressive and is a direct outcome of Dubai’s clear strategy and efforts to restore international air connectivity and mobility and lead the global aviation industry out of an unprecedented crisis," said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, in a statement.

During the same quarter, Abu Dhabi International Airport recorded around 2.56 million passengers, up 218 per cent from the year-ago period. The airport saw 22,689 flights during Q1, compared to 16,351 in 2021, a growth of 38.8 per cent.

“The first quarter continued to build on the momentum we saw in Q4 2021 as travel restrictions eased further, markets re-opened and airlines deployed capacity to accommodate the resulting surge in demand,” said Shareef Hashim Al Hashmi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports, in a statement.

The airport operator said the greater traffic was partly because of the expansion of operations by home carriers Etihad Airways, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi and Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, the launch of 10 new routes as well as the introduction of new carriers Go First and Pegasus Airlines.

Travel takes off

Travel has taken off in a big way with residents flying to destinations ranging from UK to Thailand and Bali in Southeast Asia.

According to flight booking portal Skyscanner, bookings from UAE for travel in July and August are up by 156 per cent compared to last year. Some of the top destinations are Manila, Cairo, Amman, Mumbai, and Istanbul.

Getting a visa appointment for certain Schengen countries can take up to 3 months, a top VFS official told Gulf News earlier.