Dubai airport passenger traffic to surpass pre-pandemic level by end of 2023

Due to 'revenge travel' after Covid-19 pandemic, travel and tourism sector has been one ofthe major growth drivers of emirate's economy in the past 2 years


Waheed Abbas

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Wed 15 Nov 2023, 10:15 AM

Last updated: Wed 15 Nov 2023, 11:29 PM

Dubai Airports on Wednesday said annual passenger traffic projected that Dubai International (DXB) will reach 86.8 million, surpassing 2019 figures. This comes on the back of record-breaking numbers continuing in the final quarter of 2023, as the aviation sector continues to grow at exponential pace.

The world’s largest hub recorded 22.9 million passengers in the third quarter, which was the highest quarterly traffic since 2019, taking the total year-to-date number for the first nine months of the year to 64.5 million passengers, up 39.3 per cent compared to the same period in 2022, and one per cent above 2019.

Due to 'revenge travel' after the Covid-19 pandemic, the travel and tourism sector has been one of the major growth drivers of Dubai’s economy in the past two years.

Dubai International commenced the second half of 2023 with its growth story continuing unabated, with average monthly traffic reaching 7.6 million, tracking pre-pandemic levels throughout the third quarter.

“We’re thrilled but not entirely surprised that DXB is all set to surpass the pre-pandemic milestone well ahead of our initial projections by almost a year. Our outlook for the remainder of this year and the next remains optimistic. Teaming up with our strategic partners, we’re ready for the challenge to continue to exceed guest satisfaction amidst the continuous surge in traffic,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.

To accommodate growth, Dubai airport is expanding its infrastructure capacity. With a current capacity of 100 million passengers annually at DXB, the deployment of innovative technology, expansion and refurbishment of existing infrastructures and more efficient use of its space and resources is expected to propel the airport’s capacity to 120 million.

Top destinations

India was Dubai Airport’s top country destination in terms of traffic volume with 8.9 million passengers in the first nine months of the year, followed by Saudi Arabia (4.8 million), and the UK (4.4 million). Other country destinations of note include Pakistan (3.1 million), the US (2.7 million) and Russia (1.8 million). The top cities by traffic were London (2.7 million) and Riyadh (1.9 million), closely followed by Mumbai (1.8 million) and Jeddah (1.7 million).

The airport processed a total of 57.5 million bags in 2023 with a success rate of 99.8 per cent – a rate of 2.5 mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers. In terms of baggage delivery on arrival, 91 per cent of all baggage was delivered within 45 minutes to the guests. The baggage volume in 2023 represents 106.07 per cent of the 2019 baggage volume at Dubai International.

The average waiting time at passport control queues was less than 11 minutes for 96.4 per cent of the arriving passengers and 95.1 per cent of passengers queued for less than six minutes at departure passport control. The average queue times at security check on departures were less than four minutes for 98.4 per cent of total passengers, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

Cargo registered a surge of 12.3 per cent year on year in the third quarter, to reach 446,400 tonnes.

It recorded 1.3 million tonnes of cargo in the first nine months of the year, registering a minor decline of under 1 per cent.

Flight movements in Q3 surged by 5.1 per cent to 106,000. It handled 308,000 in total flight movements between January and September, up 25.2 per cent year-on-year.


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