UAE flights: Airlines add over 110,000 seats to Dubai route to accommodate Fifa World Cup, tourist traffic

The seating capacity of airlines also increased by 2.8 per cent in November as compared to the previous month

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File photo

Waheed Abbas

Published: Sun 27 Nov 2022, 4:41 PM

Last updated: Mon 28 Nov 2022, 6:12 PM

Airlines from around the world added over 110,000 seats to their flights in the month of November to accommodate the increased flow of tourists and football fans who flocked to the Dubai International Airport (DXB) to watch the Fifa World Cup.

The seating capacity of airlines increased by 2.8 per cent in November as compared to the previous month. It was the second fastest increase after Orlando airport (2.9 per cent), according to OAG International, which provides data on airports and airlines.

The global aviation data provider showed that Dubai International (DXB) remains the busiest airport for international passenger traffic, with 4.2 million seats.

London Heathrow came in second place with 3.4 million international passenger seats. Both Dubai and London Heathrow were in first and second place in 2019 as well.

The emirate’s airport was rated second when it comes to both domestic and international seat capacity after Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (4.658 million).

Dubai Airports last week revised upward its annual passenger traffic forecast as third-quarter passenger traffic reached the pre-pandemic level. Dubai International Airport received 18,455,938 visitors during the July-September quarter – the biggest number since 17.8 million in the first quarter of 2020.

For the full year, Dubai Airports raised the forecast for 2022 by 1.5 million to 64.3 million after passenger traffic nearly tripled in the third quarter from the same period last year.


Airlines have increased their seat capacity on the Dubai route in order to accommodate the demand for football fans coming to watch the Fifa World Cup in Qatar. Millions of football aficionados will flock to the Gulf region, especially Doha and Dubai, to watch the mega event.

In addition, the emirate has been rated the best winter destination globally by travel package provider ParkSleepFly, as it sees a substantial increase in tourist traffic during winter.

According to OAG data, Dubai-Riyadh, Dubai-Jeddah, Dubai-Kuwait and Dubai-London Heathrow were among the top 10 busiest international airline routes in November, reflecting strong air passenger traffic in the Gulf region, driven particularly by the recovery in the tourism sector and the Fifa World Cup.

Out of the 10 busiest airline routes across the Middle East region, seven were linked to Dubai International: Riyadh, Jeddah, Kuwait, London, Mumbai, Delhi and Bahrain.

Travel package provider ParkSleepFly recently ranked Dubai International the seventh best airport for a layover, thanks to the proximity of hotels, availability of a variety of F&B outlets and shopping facilities. DXB was rated at par with Charles de Gaulle Airport (Paris) and Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport (China).

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