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Dubai airport handles 89.1m passengers in 2018, misses target

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Dubai airport, the hub for airlines Emirates and flydubai, saw growth slow throughout 2018 after 15 years of strong increases.

[DUBAI] Dubai International Airport handled 89.1 million passengers in 2018, missing its target but remaining the world's busiest for international travellers.

Passenger traffic rose 1 per cent last year, operator Dubai Airports said on Monday, its weakest annual growth rate in at least a decade and short of its 90.3 million target.

Dubai airport, the hub for airlines Emirates and flydubai, saw growth slow throughout 2018 after 15 years of strong increases. Among other factors, the Gulf's economic slowdown because of low oil prices has dented the region's travel industry.

Dubai Airports chief executive Paul Griffiths had told Reuters in February 2018 that double-digit passenger growth could resume as early as this year, aided by closer ties between Emirates and flydubai.

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Dubai airport has been the world's busiest for international travellers since 2014 when it took the title from London's Heathrow where passenger traffic grew 2.7 per cent to a total 80 million passengers in 2018.

In December, Dubai airport passenger traffic fell by 1.7 per cent to 7.7 million passengers.

Dubai airport has previously said it believes it can overtake Atlantic and Beijing airports to become the world's busiest overall by 2021.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest, handled 98.6 million passengers in the first 11 months of 2018. It has yet to release annual figures.

REUTERS