DUBAI- Dubai International Airport’s first quarter passenger traffic fell 2.2 percent to 22.2 million compared to the same period a year earlier, which operator Dubai Airports partly blamed on the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX.
The drop in quarterly passenger figures was largely due to a 3 percent reduction in flights, some caused by the 737 MAX grounding, and the timing of the Easter break this year, Dubai Airports said on Sunday.
The MAX has been grounded since an Ethiopian Airlines MAX crashed in March which followed a LionAir crash last October, killing a total of 346 people.
Flydubai, which is based at the airport, has grounded all of its 14 MAX’s, forcing it to cancel dozens of flights.
Other airlines that use the airport have grounded the plane.
The airport’s main airline, Emirates, does not operate the MAX.
The average number of monthly passengers was 7.41 million compared to 7.42 million a year earlier.
Quarterly cargo volumes rose 4.1 percent to 641,250 tonnes.
Dubai airport, which usually posts monthly traffic figures, has seen growth slow over the past year.
In 2018, it handled 89.1 million passengers, missing its target of 90.3 million but remaining the world’s busiest for international travellers.
(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky) ((Alexander.Cornwell@thomsonreuters.com;))