DXB expects robust growth in air travel as UAE lifts restrictions

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Dubai is expecting a rebound in Dubai International Airports (DXB) in the second half of the year after the airport clocked 10.6 million passengers in the first six months of 2021 despite travel restrictions affecting its key source markets throughout the second quarter.

According to the latest report released by Airports Council International (ACI), DXB remains the world’s busiest airport for international passengers after keeping the title for the seventh year in a row for total traffic in 2020. DXB holds a significant lead over other international airports and has nearly twice the passenger traffic of the next busiest global hub in the Middle East.

The UK’s recent decision to add the UAE to the “Amber list,” and the UAE’s conditional lifting of travel restrictions for passengers arriving from four Indian subcontinents as well as Nigeria and Uganda, are significant developments that will boost DXB’s international traffic while enabling social and economic recovery.

Paul Griffiths
Paul Griffiths
Dubai Airports

“In anticipation of the robust recovery of global air travel, we started the second half on a high note by reopening Terminal 1 and Concourse D, the home terminal for our 60 international carriers, after 15 months of hibernation to accommodate the seasonal rush of travelers over the summer holidays. This was essential to facilitate the continued expansion of the route networks of our home base carriers Emirates and flydubai, whose joint network currently spanning 168 destinations continues to grow.”

In July, Dubai saw some of the busiest weekends of the year, and with big international events like the Dubai Expo 2020 and the Dubai Airshow 2021 planned for the months ahead, the passenger numbers projection for 2021 is expected to be positive.

DXB’s passenger volumes in the second quarter were 4.9 million, taking the year’s half-year total to 10.6 million, a 40.9 percent drop year on year. In comparison to the pre-COVID-19 scenario, DXB now serves 68 percent of destinations in 94 percent of countries on 70 percent of airlines.

In terms of recovery, cargo continued to outperform the passenger sector, with cargo volumes approaching 2019 levels in the second quarter. DXB handled 571,568 tons of freight in the second quarter, pushing the first half totals to 1.1 million tons, up 27.7 percent year on year.

DXB reported a total of 99,392 flight movements in the first half of the year, a slight increase of 0.9 percent year on year due to a low base arising from the partial suspension of operations from March 25 to July 7, 2020.

India continued to be DXB’s top destination country by traffic volume in the first half with passenger numbers exceeding 1.9 million. Pakistan was second with 700,074 customers, followed by Russia and Egypt. The top three cities by traffic were Addis Ababa, followed by Cairo and Moscow.

Related: DXB opens one of world’s largest in-house airport COVID-19 RT PCR test lab