Bahrain airport passenger numbers top four million

MORE than four million passengers travelled through Bahrain International Airport (BIA) in the first six months of the year, signalling a significant recovery in the kingdom’s aviation sector.

A joint statement from Bahrain Airport Company (BAC), the operator and manager of BIA, and the national carrier Gulf Air, says both recorded a steady increase in passengers and air traffic compared to the same period last year.

The airport welcomed 4,098,582 passengers during the first six months of the year, up 43.2 per cent from the same period in 2022.

Air traffic movements – a measure of the activity of an airport – rose 19.8pc to 44,160 from 36,869 in H1 2022.

An air traffic movement (ATM) is a landing or take-off of an aircraft operating a scheduled or non-scheduled service.

Cargo tonnage handled by BIA reached 177,070 during the six-month period, a 6.34pc drop from 189,060 in the same period last year.

The decline was likely due to the ongoing global supply chain disruptions.

Meanwhile, Gulf Air saw a significant increase in passenger traffic during H1 2023, with a 39.7pc increase over H1 2022 – 2,798,131, up from 2,001,890 passengers.

The national carrier also handled 38,300 tonnes of cargo during H1 2023.

“Our H1 growth comes on the back of efforts to further develop our extensive network by adding seven new destinations and resuming popular routes as part of our summer campaign,” said Gulf Air chief executive Captain Waleed Al Alawi.

“Served by our modern fleet of 34 aircraft, our routes to Alexandria and Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt; Goa, India; Mykonos, Greece; Nice, France; Bodrum, Turkey; and Malaga, Spain; to name a few, have proven incredibly popular.”

He added that the airline would look to cement Bahrain’s position as a leading tourism destination, while “showcasing the kingdom’s renowned hospitality to the world”.

According to BAC chief executive Mohamed Al Binfalah, the airport has welcomed six new carriers, including SCAT Airlines, and Azerbaijan Airlines and added eight new destinations so far this year.

“Delivering excellent customer service while further enhancing air connectivity and route development are major areas of focus at BIA,” he said.

“Working alongside our partners, we are making steady progress towards achieving our strategic goals, as can be seen from the uptick in passengers and air traffic movements at the airport during the first half of 2023.”

The International Air Transport Association said in June that air travel passenger numbers have almost returned to pre-pandemic levels, highlighting that airlines expect to carry 4.35 billion passengers worldwide this year, not far from the record of 4.54bn in 2019.




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