Covid-19 testing regime will become history soon, says Dubai Airports CEO

Governments should not interfere with the common-sense health regulations that are now emerging, says Paul Griffiths



by

Waheed Abbas

Published: Tue 11 Jan 2022, 12:49 PM

Last updated: Wed 12 Jan 2022, 7:22 AM

Testing for Covid-19 will soon become history, and the governments should stop interfering with the ‘common sense health regulations’, said a senior official of Dubai Airports.

“Once the (Covid-19) testing regime becomes history, which I think it will do shortly, there will be a strong recovery and we need governments to stop interfering with the common-sense health regulations that are now emerging in the wake of the response of the latest strain of the virus,” said Paul Griffiths, chief executive officer of Dubai Airports on Tuesday.

“I think we have got to get to live with it we got to be able to travel as part of that normalisation of the approach to the virus in the future. That’s when the people will get their lives back and that’s when they will become mobile again.”

Griffiths said Dubai had not shut down the airports but put them in a hibernation mode.

“The next stage is to be ready for the recovery... And the good thing is that we never really shut anything down. We put things into hibernation but we maintained a full state of readiness in order to springboard back into the real world when traffic starts to recover,” Griffiths told CNN in an interview.

111% passenger growth

According to Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), DXB received 24 million international passengers during the first 11 months of 2021, including 3.88 million in November alone. DXB maintained its status as the world’s busiest international airport also in December with 3.542 million seats, the UK-based global travel data provider OAG said.

He revealed that Dubai airport saw 40 per cent growth over six week period just before the Christmas peak and about 111 per cent of pre-Covid levels in terms of arriving and departing passengers.

Dubai Airports CEO said Dubai World Central (DWC) airport will be made operational once Dubai International (DXB) reaches full capacity again.

DXB returned to full capacity with the opening of the final phase of Concourse A at Terminal 3 in mid-December 2021.

“We only closed DWC because we were able to accommodate all traffic from DWC at DXB temporarily. Once DXB fills up again, DWC will open and we will populate again and continue our growth trajectory,” he added.

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“Having built confidence in Dubai as a destination, the actual multiplier effect of the origin-destination traffic to the economy is hugely valuable. Because of this attractiveness, when transfer markets come back, we will be in an incredibly strong position to resume our pre-eminence with Sixth Freedom as well as this point-to-point market.”

He pointed out that Dubai’s aviation infrastructure is young when compared to other facilities in the region and worldwide.

“Compared to other airports around the world, we have got some of the youngest terminals. Concourse A was opened only in 2013 and Terminal 3, which is over a million square metres, opened in 2008 – so still relatively young. We are constantly refreshing and refurbishing and we have got two major projects that we are putting together over the course of the next 12 months,” Griffiths concluded.

-waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com


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