Dubai Airport Beats Pre-Pandemic Passenger Traffic

DALLAS – Dubai International Airport (DXB), serving the largest city of the United Arab Emirates, and home to the largest airline in the Middle East, has reported its passenger traffic results for the first half of 2023, finally surpassing the levels obtained before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

During the first six months of the year, the airport saw 41.6 million passengers pass through its gates, either initiating or ending their journey or through a connecting flight. The total number of movements increased by 13% compared to 2019, peaking at 201,800 departures and arrivals.

Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, said, “It’s been a rewarding first half for Dubai International and amidst increasing guest numbers…as we recover with our H1 traffic surpassing pre-pandemic levels, we continue to remain committed to ensuring every guest who travels through our airport leaves with a smile.”

Regarding cargo operations, DXB is still positioned among the 20 busiest in the world, even though its performance has worsened throughout the years by 6.2%.

Shortly to be the most populated country in the world, India is by far the most-served destination from Dubai. Photo: Marco Russo/Airways.

India is on Top of the Lead

India has obtained the best results after experiencing one of the quickest and most significant expansions of the aviation industry. It is today the most selected final destination for passengers traveling from or through Dubai International Airport, with 6 million passengers flying to their respective national airports.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia then follows India, and we don’t see a European country until third place, belonging to the United Kingdom with 2.8 million passengers. The United States is fifth, with 1.8 million.

Dubai Airport offers one of the most extensive route networks worldwide, with an impressive list of 257 destinations distributed across 104 countries and served by 91 airlines.

To promote the Dubai EXPO, Emirates transformed some of their Airbus A380s into “Blue Superjumbos”. Photo: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways.

The Home of the Airbus A380

DXB was ranked as the second busiest airport in the world in August regarding seats offered. Despite operating just two parallel runways, it reported just 500,000 seats less than the leader Atlanta (ATL), which has five parallel runways running.

The main factor that explains this somewhat puzzling situation is that Dubai is, by far, the largest Airbus A380-served airfield in the world thanks to its home carrier, Emirates (EK), currently owning a whopping 119 units. 

Therefore, DXB can handle many more passengers via fewer aircraft movements. Atlanta distributes this passenger flow in smaller aircraft in more landings and takeoffs.

However, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates keeps expanding, and the current facilities operating at the main passenger airport are struggling to adapt to the rise of business and leisure travel to the country and connecting traffic.

Because of this, new expansion projects are being studied to implement in Dubai, some of them valued at more than US$33bn, which would make any current airfield a joke compared to the upcoming largest airport not only in the Middle East but the entire planet.

Featured image: Emirates Airlines.

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