Passenger traffic grew by 3 percent at Sharjah International Airport during the last quarter, as the airport handled 2.75 million passengers during April, May and June, compared with 2.66 million during the same period of 2016. Overall, Sharjah handled 5.5 million passengers during the first half of 2017, about 3 percent higher than the first half of 2016.
Sharjah handled 966,563 passengers in April, 949,983 in May and 835,825 in June 2017, peaking at 6 percent growth in April (compared to 2016 levels). Aircraft movements at the airport also increased by 3 percent, totalling 18,801 scheduled and non-scheduled movements in Q2 2017 compared with 18,183 in Q2 2016.
Air Arabia, the largest low-cost carrier operator in the Middle East and North Africa, launched a number of new services from its Sharjah hub this year, including permanent connections with Batumi in Georgia, Baku in Azarbajian, Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland and Sohar, on the Batinah coast of the Sultanate of Oman. The airline is also operating a summer season non-stop service to the historic Turkish port city of Trabzon. The Sharjah carrier now operates flights to over 130 destinations across the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Asia, and Europe from its five international hubs.
Sharjah International Airport’s growth is driven by the expansion of Air Arabia, established international carrier routes and private aviation. Air Arabia carried over 8.4 million passengers in 2016, registering 12 percent year-on-year passenger growth. Meanwhile, global business aviation services company Gama Aviation expects to open its new world class business aviation facility in Sharjah next year. The company registered a 12 percent increase in aircraft traffic handled by its Sharjah hub during 2016.
Meanwhile, Sharjah Airport Authority recently announced that more than 850,000 passengers passed through Sharjah International Airport’s new smart gates during the past nine months (October 2016 to June 2017). The airport has installed a total of 16 smart gates at arrival and departure terminals, which allow travellers to pass through passport control within a matter of seconds. The gates scan and read passport information, capture biometric data using a high-accuracy camera and compare scanned data with immigration records.
Sharjah Airport Authority recently appointed US engineering consultancy Parsons Overseas Limited to oversee the US$400 million (AED 1.46b) expansion of Sharjah International Airport. The airport plans to increase capacity to welcome 25 million passengers by the year 2027.
Source: SAA, various