Dubai International Airport records busiest quarter since 2020 with 13.6 million passengers

India remains a top destination for passenger volume at DXB

by Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Thu 12 May 2022, 8:46 AM

Dubai International Airport has recorded the busiest quarter since 2020, after 13.6 million passengers shuttled through its gateway in the first quarter of 2022.

Official statistics from the Dubai International Airport (DXB) released Thursday indicate traffic recovery is gaining momentum at the airports as passenger traffic surpassed the 10 million mark for the second consecutive quarter. DXB announced that 5.5 million visitors bolstered its passenger traffic in March 2022 alone.

According to Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, the outlook for the year remains strong, with annual traffic now projected to reach 58.3 million, exceeding initial forecasts by a significant margin. However, pre-pandemic, a milestone of 86.4 million in yearly traffic was logged by the airport in 2019.

India remains its top destination for passenger volume reaching 1.6 million, followed by Saudi Arabia at 1.1 million. The two nations are closely followed by Pakistan, where passenger volume stands at 997,000, and the UK, with 934,000 passengers.

The official announcement from Dubai International Airport (DXB) comes after it clocked 29.1 million in annual traffic in 2021, retaining its position as the world’s busiest international hub for eight consecutive years.

The airports’ passenger volumes rose to 13.6 million in the first quarter of 2022, up 15.7 per cent compared to 11.8 million passengers in the final quarter of 2021. By comparison, DXB recorded 5.7 million passengers in the first quarter of 2021.

The Q1 passenger traffic is encouraging for the tourism-driven economy of Dubai, signalling that international travel has picked up considerably since the Covid-19 pandemic caused unprecedented global lockdowns and border closures in 2020.

The global hub is connected to 193 destinations across 92 countries via 73 scheduled international carriers.

Flight movements during the first quarter totalled 81,966, an increase of 5.8 per cent compared to the last quarter of 2021, during which DXB recorded 77,475 flights.

The top three cities in terms of passenger numbers were London, standing at 617,000 passengers, Riyadh at 517,000 passengers, and Jeddah at 337,000, followed closely by Istanbul at 324,000 passengers.

“DXB’s performance over the past successive quarters is nothing short of impressive and is a direct outcome of Dubai’s clear strategy and efforts to restore international air connectivity and mobility and lead the global aviation industry out of an unprecedented crisis,” explained Griffiths.

“While the recovery was initially led by point-to-point traffic, which continues to exceed pre-pandemic levels, the opening of international travel across many key markets has enabled transfer traffic to rebound to 60 per cent of 2019 levels,” he added.


The emirate hosted Expo 2020 Dubai from October 2021 to March 2022, which brought in a considerable number of visitors from across the globe. With the total number of visits standing over 22.9 million (as of March 29), the first World Expo in the region fulfilled its commitment to attract between 22.9 million and 25.4 million visits.

Moreover, Covid-19 infections have remained considerably low across the country, and health authorities have eased pre-travel testing regulations for fully-vaccinated travellers, making it a favourable tourist destination for visitors from across the globe.

During Q1 2022, DXB handled 519,555 tonnes of cargo during the first three months of 2022, a contraction of 15.5 per cent compared to Q4 2021, during which the hub recorded 614,834 tonnes of airfreight.

Dhanusha Gokulan
Dhanusha Gokulan

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