Dubaï International Airport Emirates Terminal 3 in Dubai (Photo: Dubai Airports)

29.1 million passengers to be handled in its terminals by 2021. Dubai International Airport

(DXB) has seen some growth over the past year, although this growth is still disappointing. As elsewhere in the world, air traffic at the Middle East’s largest hub has been affected by successive waves of the pandemic. Above all, the airport has been particularly affected by the continued closure of most of Asia as well as Australia.

The increase in 2021 is quantified by a traffic increase of 12.7%. This growth was propelled by the last three months of the year, during which DXB recorded 11.79 million passengers, 77% more than the previous quarter.

The airport in 2020 had experienced a dramatic 70% drop. Its traffic dropped from nearly 89 million passengers to 25 million. Never short of superlatives in their own regard, the airport authorities report that DXB still remained the world’s busiest airport in terms of international passenger numbers. And this for the eighth consecutive year.

100% operational capacity

Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, says DXB has shown resilience in the face of the pandemic. The hub hosted the Dubai Airshow 2021, the first major air show during a pandemic. Last year also marked the return to 100% operational capacity with the reopening of Terminal 1 – Concourse D and Concourse A. Authorities also opened the largest in-house PCR testing laboratory at Covid-19 at an airport.

“With the reopening of markets like Australasia and the continued relaxation of travel regulations around the world, the outlook for 2022 is very promising. We are in an excellent position to continue to lead the global airline industry on the road to recovery,” said Griffiths.

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The CEO expects 55.1 million passengers to fly this year. However, this forecast does not take into account the impact of the current Russia-Ukraine war. If the U.A.E. continues to authorize air traffic to Russia, the collapse of the ruble and a deteriorating economic situation will weigh on travel. In

detail, India remains the number one destination with 4.2 million passengers for 2021. It is followed by Pakistan with 1.8 million, Saudi Arabia with 1.5 million and the UK with 1.2 million. There are good performances to the United States (1.1 million passengers), Egypt (1 million) and Turkey (945,000). The most requested cities were Istanbul with 916,000 passengers, Cairo (905,000), London (814,000) and New Delhi (791,000). <


Currently, 198 destinations across 93 countries are accessible from Dubai. 84 international carriers regularly connect the airport. Authorities estimate that by the end of 2023 it will be at or above its 2019 traffic levels.