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06 December 2023

Five airlines start Dubai operations in first quarter

Kingfisher Airlines, Air Atlanta and Kabo Air will start services to Dubai by the end of March.(AFP)

By Shweta Jain

By the end of this quarter, five new airlines would have started operations to Dubai International Airport, taking the total number of carriers operating to the airport up to 125, according to a Dubai Airports spokesperson.

Currently serving 200 destinations across six continents, Dubai International will see three global airlines – India's Kingfisher Airlines, Europe's Air Atlanta and Nigerian carrier Kabo Air – launch services to Dubai by the end of this month.

"By the end of the first quarter of this year, Dubai International Airport expects to add five new global carriers to its list of airlines," the spokesperson told Emirates Business.

Two of the five new airlines that have already started Dubai operations include Sri Lanka's low-cost carrier, Mihin Lanka, which started flying to the emirate in February, and Kuwait's new premier airline, Wataniya Airways, which launched services to Dubai – its debut destination, on January 24.

Kingfisher Airlines was originally scheduled to launch its first flight to Dubai from Bangalore on February 8 but delayed it for undisclosed reasons.

"Though Kingfisher Airlines and Air Atlanta are targeting an end-March launch, given the downturn, they may face a one-week delay at the most," said an official of Dubai Airports.

He added that Dubai Airports' earlier target was to have five new airlines start Dubai operations every year. Given that, the airport will see five airlines start services in the first quarter alone.

Dubai Airports recently said it recorded a six per cent year-on-year increase in its January traffic, with passenger traffic at Dubai International reaching 3.3 million in January 2009 compared to 3.1 million passengers in the same period last year.

Despite the air traffic slowing down globally, Dubai's airport handled 37.44 million passengers in 2008, registering a growth of nine per cent over the previous year, with Terminal 3's opening in October last year giving impetus to the growth.

The new terminal is expected to take the total passenger numbers up to 60 million by 2010.

Also, according to Airports Council International, or ACI, Dubai International was the only airport among the top 10 airports (by international passengers) to register positive growth during the last quarter of 2008, with year-on-year growth of 10.5 per cent in October, 6.6 in November and 4.8 per cent in December.