EIA growth hits 53% for passengers and plus 54% for cargo tonnage as airport mirrors dynamism of Kurdistan's growing economy in 2012
- Iraq: Wednesday, January 23 - 2013 at 15:36
- PRESS RELEASE
In 2012, 947,600 passengers used Erbil's new International Airport, a 53% increase on the previous year, whilst cargo tonnage also increased dramatically, with a 54% increase to 27,849 tonnes per annum.
The increase in passenger and cargo numbers will help cement Erbil International Airport as one of the fastest growing in the Middle East and underlines the wisdom of the KRG's fifth cabinet and its then Prime Minister, Nichevan Barzani's decision to commission the new airport in 2004.
With an average of 13 flights a day, serving of 2,590 passengers daily, and 17 cargo flights a week, bringing in 550 tonnes of cargo, the airport has once again seen record growth in 2012 and is a solid reflection of what is happening with the economy in Kurdistan and Northern Iraq, with demand for travel growing and the demand for cargo imports growing.
The +53% increase in passenger numbers to 947,600 puts EIA, four years, and 56% ahead of its own master plan. The independently produced plan had anticipated 608,400 passengers in 2012.
The most popular routes remain Istanbul and Dubai, with Turkish and Atlas leading the way on routes to the north, whilst Iraqi Airways continues to operate the most flights into Erbil with an average of around 95 a month. New routes in 2012 have included Emirates to Dubai, Qatar Airways to Doha, Air Arabia to Sharjah, Mahan Air to Tehran. Flights to and from Erbil now connect to 15 countries and 23 different cities.
Commenting on the record growth, Airport Director Talar Faiq said, "This has been an exciting and demanding year for the airport as it manages the very strong growth we are seeing. That growth is due to a number of factors, which include, airlines competing for market share, for example to the Gulf states, other airlines, seeking to use Erbil passenger traffic as an important feeder for their long haul routes, eg. Emirates, Etihad and Qatar, new airlines arriving, eg Air Arabia, Mahan and Qatar. But the overiding factor in the growth of Erbil International Airport is the demand created by the growing economy in the region."
Airports exist to serve their communities, and it is the demand within the region that is the dominant factor behind such impressive numbers.
Such growth brings with it challenges that we, as EIA, must respond to and manage, and it is a team effort that will ensure success. Security, Customs, Immigration are all agencies working at the airport who have an important role in responding to the increases in traffic and ensuring that passengers and cargo users have a positive experience. The number one objective is to operate a safe, secure and efficient airport. To help EIA achieve this we have introduced a number of key initiatives in 2012, including investment in air traffic control, baggage handling systems, and planned increase in check in facilities and the long awaited opening of the new 'meet and greet' building.
The decision to lift the ban on US registered planes coming to airports in Kurdistan in December was welcome news for EIA and we look forward in due course, hopefully in 2013, to welcoming US aircraft to our airport. We are seeing interest from airlines in Europe and Asia, including China, and EIA is committed to facilitating and supporting the success of all airlines operating to and from Erbil.
"In 2013 we at EIA will be working hard to ensure a positive experience for passengers as well as investing in the long term sustainability of the airport operation through training, introducing best in class suppliers and exploiting the potential to increase commercial revenue for the KRG."
Developments in 2012
• Awarding of airport certificate by Iraq Civil Aviation Authority.
• Completion of radar project.
• Contract with specialist team develop and enhance the introduction of radar approach and training of air traffic control specialists.
• Immigration: In 2012 the immigration department discovered 187 counterfeit passports and suspect documents from the country of origin. Of the 187, 43 were European passports and visas and 83 Iraqi fake passports, 12 were false Turkish passports, 18 forged Iraqi and Kurdistan visa papers were discovered via immigration checks. A further 27 Indian and Nepalese passports were also found to be counterfeit.
• Opening of new 'Meet &Greet' facility - to enhance passenger experience for passengers and those waiting to collect them.
• The average passenger growth rate since 2006 and the launch of civilian aviation traffic at Erbil International is 35% a year.
• The 2012 increase of 53% is the strongest year on year growth for five years.
• The monthly pattern for travel demand through EIA is consistent with airports in the Middle East and sees peak traffic through in July and September.
• On average 2,589 passengers used the airport each day in 2012.
• In 2011, routes from Erbil International served 10 countries and 18 cities, in 2012, connectivity was enhanced and Erbil International currently serves 23 cities in 15 different countries, a 28% increase.
• In 2011, EIA had 15 airlines partners, in 2012, that number increased to 21, a 40% increase.
• The growth in cargo has been driven with the demand for imports into the booming Kurdistan economy - Emirates, Etihad, and Maximus, Royal Jordanian, Starlight, Qatar and Turkish Airlines all serve Erbil International with dedicated cargo freighters.
• Overall cargo tonnage grew by 54% in 2012 to a total of 27,489 tonnes.
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