Dubai flights: Passenger traffic at DXB crosses 21.2 million in first quarter; India remains top destination

This is the first time since the fourth quarter of 2019 when average monthly traffic reached the 7-million passenger mark


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Published: Tue 9 May 2023, 9:30 AM

Last updated: Tue 9 May 2023, 1:56 PM

Traffic at Dubai International Airport (DXB) almost reached pre-pandemic levels, with passenger numbers exceeding 21.2 million in the first quarter of the year. This follows DXB’s strong showing last year, when the airport clocked 66 million passengers to retain its position as the world’s busiest international hub for the ninth year running.

In the first three months of 2023, passenger traffic went up 55.8 per cent, compared to the first quarter of 2022. This is the first time since the fourth quarter of 2019 when average monthly traffic reached the 7-million passenger mark. March was the busiest month in the first quarter, with 7.3 million passengers, which is also the highest monthly traffic since January 2020 (7.8m passengers).

DXB is currently connected to 234 destinations across 99 countries via 89 scheduled international carriers.

Top destinations

India remained DXB’s top destination country with passenger traffic reaching 3 million, followed by Saudi Arabia (1.6 million), the UK (1.4 million) and Pakistan (1million). Other countries of include the US (840,000), Russia (729,000) and Germany (628,000).

The list of top cities by passenger numbers was led by London (890,000) Mumbai (645,000), Jeddah (641,000) and Riyadh (604,000).


DXB handled a total of 400,015 tonnes of cargo during Q1, a contraction of 23 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2022.


Total flight movements during Q1 reached 100,840, a year-on-year increase of 23 per cent and 1.6 per cent higher than Q1 of 2019. With load factors exceeding 2019 levels throughout the first quarter and reaching 80 per cent in March 2023, the passenger per aircraft movement grew 19.5 per cent to reach 220.

“DXB’s performance in the first quarter has exceeded our expectations and reflects the strong growth in demand that we are continuing to see across our key markets. With important developments in the international travel sector such as the further easing of travel protocols in China, and the upcoming local annual seasonal peaks and festive holidays, our outlook for the second quarter and the remainder of the year remains bullish. Accordingly, we have had to readjust our traffic forecast for 2023 upward to 83.6 million passengers, which will put DXB within striking distance to our 2019 annual traffic” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.


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