UAE. Passenger traffic at Dubai International surged +20.6% to 5.8 million in March 2013 – the fourth consecutive month with over 5 million passengers and double-digit growth. This is the highest percentage growth for the airport since August 2012.

The strong showing has boosted the year-to-date traffic to 16.5 million, up +15.6% compared with the 14.3 million recorded during the first three months of 2012.

The largest increase in total passenger numbers was recorded on Western European routes (+227,830), driven mainly by Emirates and flydubai services, followed by the AGCC (+209,737) and the Indian subcontinent (+202,703). Growth remained subdued (+2,532) on South American routes, while Middle Eastern routes registered moderate growth (+36,479).

In terms of percentage growth, Eastern Europe was the fastest expanding market (+67.9%), driven by Emirates’ launch of new services to Poland and flydubai’s service to Macedonia, followed by Asia Pacific (+26.5%).

Dubai International recorded a total of 31,713 aircraft movements in March, up +8.3%. The year-to-date movements increased +5.9% to reach 91,130, compared to 86,014 recorded during the first three months in 2012.

Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths said: “We have had a very successful first quarter highlighted by record growth and the opening of the world’s first purpose built A380 facility. I am particularly pleased that we are now not only the world’s second busiest international hub but also one of the most efficient with 208 passengers per aircraft movement*, thanks to our growing number of A380 operations which led the world in 2012 with 7,259 A380 flights to 28 destinations.”

He added that traffic looked set to continue its upsurge in the second quarter adding to the import of Dubai Airports’ ongoing expansion projects at Dubai International.

*NOTE: Published schedule data for 2012 shows Dubai International had 7,259 A380 scheduled flights to 28 destinations. Taking second spot during 2012 with 6,653 A380 scheduled operations to 19 destinations was Singapore Changi. London Heathrow holds third position with 3,697 flights to six destinations, followed by Frankfurt with 3,071 A380 flights to 12 destinations and Sydney with 2,697 flights to eight destinations.