Bahrain International Airport set records in all areas of its activities last year with an increase of 20 per cent in passenger numbers and 27 per cent in cargo business.
The airport, which handled 5.2 million passengers last years, hopes the figure would reach six million this year.
Preliminary statistics released by transportation minister Sheikh Ali Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa show that 2004 was the busiest year in the history of the airport. Key traffic segments, passenger numbers, cargo tonnage and commercial aircraft movements reached all time highs.
Although the average record for growth forecasted by International Civil Aviation Organisation (UN agent) throughout the world was 6.5 per cent last year, Bahrain International Airport was successful in setting records in all areas of its activities.
The highest growth was in the month of July with 26 per cent increase over the same month in 2003. The underlying trend of growth will be 4.5 per cent to eight per cent and assuming there will be no significant interruptions to international and regional travel, the airport expects to continue with a record double digit passenger growth for 2005 with a real possibility of breaking through the five-million-and-a-half passenger barrier to six million.
While passenger traffic grew, it was the air cargo sector that showed the most dramatic expansion. Bahrain International Airport emerged during the year as the most dynamic regional air cargo gateway in the Gulf as a number of major cargo airlines commenced services and others increased frequency.
The expansion was driven by the increasing volumes of cargo being shipped into Bahrain for regional distribution by both air and surface and also by the increased commercial and industrial activity that is underway within the Kingdom.
While releasing the 2004 preliminary figures, the minister of transportation acknowledged that this achievement would not be possible without the full support the aviation sector received from the Kingdom leaders and the cooperation of the government. He also expressed his satisfaction at the successful turn-round in business and congratulated all of the ‘airport’ organisations for their commitment.