Cargo growth levels off at Dubai’s DWC

Airfreight volumes at Al Maktoum International (DWC) registered an anemic increase during 2016, at just under 898,000 tonnes, up only 0.8 percent, compared to the nearly 891,000 tonnes handled during 2015. At this time last year, the airport announced that cargo volumes had surged 7.7 percent during 2015, compared to the previous year. But with Dubai International (DXB) to the north moving 3.4 percent more cargo in bellyholds throughout 2016, Emirates, the national carrier, is still seeing significant increases in volume.

DWC is Dubai’s newer airport, located 80 kilometers to the south of DXB. The newer airport hosts Emirates Cargo’s full-freighter operation, while maindeck flights are barred from DXB due to overcrowding.

DWC handled a total of 38,671 aircraft movements in 2016, a contraction of 5.6 percent compared to 2015, when the airport recorded 40,947 movements. Aircraft movements registered a pronounced fourth-quarter slump, at 9,290, down 21 percent compared to 11,763 recorded in Q4 2015.

“After having emerged as one of the top 20 international cargo hubs, DWC is now growing steadily in stature as a passenger hub, and we are pleased with the growth in passenger traffic in 2016,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.

Designed to be more than just another airport, DWC open in 2010, but is still not completed. Final plans include five runways, 200 widebody aircraft stands and an eight-square-kilometer cargo facility to handle a staggering 16 million tonnes of cargo per year. DWC lies at the heart of what it’s planners call an “aerotropolis,” an entire city replete with commercial and residential facilities built around a central airport.

With aircraft movements down for the year, DWC’s already delayed expansion could be put on hold yet again. Emirates has already stated that the they expect 2017 to be a lean year and, like their Gulf counterparts, appear to be tightening the purse strings, at least for the time being.

Those interested in learning more about air freight in 2017, should join us at Cargo Facts Asia in Shanghai, 25 – 26 April.  To register, or for more information, go to

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