Sharjah airport targeting 5pc growth in 2003


Sharjah International Airport reported encouraging first-quarter results. Aircraft movement showed an 11 per cent increase and passenger traffic increased 30 per cent.

These are despite the Iraq war and an expected fall in passenger and cargo movement, spokesman for the airport said. The results have been made possible due to the the reinstated Ariana Afghan service to Kabul, Haj operations and My Travel's service from Scandinavia. These factors led to January charting the highest relative jump in aircraft movements, while passenger traffic surged almost 31 per cent in March.

The airport is on course to achieve its targeted five per cent overall increase for 2003, said the director general Dr Ghanem Al Hajri, in a report by Gulf News.

The report added that he attributed the performance to persistent efforts aimed at maintaining quality standards and to derive the best from any possible situation.

He also attributed the rise in passenger load to the 10-15 minute passenger check-in and check-out times. The increased numbers follow the 2002 trend, particularly in cargo. The freight centre last year saw a 25 per cent increase in cargo imports and 18 per cent in exports. These contributed to a 22 per cent net increase in cargo movements.

Ali Kombargi, director of the centre, attributed the impressive growth to the reinstated commercial cargo traffic to Afghanistan through Ariana Afghan Airlines and other carriers, more traffic operated by Sudan Airways and Azza Air to traditional destinations in Africa like Khartoum, and higher number of charter operations to Lagos.

Regular and charter operations to Moscow have also increased, he told the newspaper.