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Dubai Airport tops pre-pandemic passenger traffic in first half

August 22, 2023 at 5:04 pm

A FlyDubai Boing 737-800 landing at the tarmac at Dubai’s International Airport [GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images]

Dubai’s main airport reported a 49 per cent surge in passenger traffic in the first half of the year to 41.6 million, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, operator Dubai Airports said on Tuesday, Reuters reports.

The second quarter fuelled the recovery to just over 100 per cent of traffic numbers in the first half of 2019, rising nearly 43 per cent from the second quarter of 2022 to 20.3 million passengers, the operator said.

Dubai, the tourism and trade hub of the Middle East, was quick to re-open after the pandemic. That, along with an influx of Russians and business professionals as well as relaxed social and visa rules, helped fuel an economic recovery that has also seen property prices and rents balloon.

Dubai Airports adjusted its forecast for 2023 to 85 million passengers from 83.6 million, “just 1.6 per cent shy of DXB’s (Dubai International) annual traffic in 2019,” Chief Executive, Paul Griffiths, said in a statement.

“We started the second half with strong demand in July, and with the ongoing seasonal peak coinciding with the re-opening of schools in August, we’re preparing for an exceptionally busy rest of the year.”

DXB’s annual passenger traffic last year was 66.1 million, Dubai Airports said in February.

The Airport flew 201,800 flights in the first half, up 30.2 per cent year-on-year. May was the second quarter’s busiest month, with 6.9 million passengers.

India was DXB’s top destination country in terms of traffic with 6 million passengers in the first half, followed by Saudi Arabia with 3.1 million, the United Kingdom with 2.8 million and Pakistan with 2 million. The United States, Russia and Germany had 1.8 million, 1.3 million and 1.2 million passengers, respectively.

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