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Bahrain's air traffic rebounds in Q1

Total passengers rise 12 per cent to 2.06m compared to year-earlier.
NEWS, Aviation

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Traffic at Bahrain International Airport rebounded in the first quarter, after a year-earlier slump as regional unrest spread to the island nation.

Total passengers rose 12 percent in the period to 2.06 million, the country’s civil aviation authority said on its website. Cargo increased 5 per cent to 91,799 tonnes.

Passenger traffic fell 12 per cent in 2011 and cargo volume by 13 percent, the authority said in comments published by Bloomberg.

It cited “reduced business activity due to the effects of the Arab Spring throughout the region and a reduction in routes served.”

Gulf Air, Bahrain’s state-owned carrier, carried 8 percent fewer passengers while private Bahrain Air had a drop of 21 per cent.

Last month, it was reported that Bahrain saw a significant rebound in its tourism industry in March with occupancy more than doubling compared to the same month last year.

Hotels in the Gulf kingdom's capital Manama reported a 112 per cent rise in occupancy rates to 45 per cent, according to latest figures released by STR Global.

Manama also saw a 14.6 per cent increase in average daily rates (ADR) and a massive 143.1 per cent growth in revenue per available room (RevPAR) to US$97.96.

The figures are the first sign that the Gulf kingdom, which last weekend hosted the Formula One Grand Prix amid continuing protests, is recovering from the economic impact of unrest that began in early 2011 as part of the Arab Spring that hit the Middle East and North Africa region.

Demonstrations broke out in February last year in Bahrain, led by the country’s Shiite Muslim majority demanding democracy and equal rights, as part of the wave of Arab revolts.

A crackdown by security forces left at least 35 people dead in the first two months, and the opposition says more than 40 others died since. Small-scale rallies still take place daily in Shiite villages and sometimes spill into the capital, Manama.

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