Dubai International Airport (DXB) is reopening Terminal 1 on June 24 and moving more than 40 international airlines from their temporary homes at Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 in what the airport described as a “significant development” that “signals the return of growth to Dubai and the UAE’s aviation and travel and tourism sectors”.
Terminal 1 (which houses check-in and arrival facilities) along with Concourse D (from which aircraft arrive and depart) was mothballed last March at the height of the pandemic when most international airlines suspended flights to Dubai. It has remained unused for more than a year.
Around 40 airlines will move into Terminal 1, returning Terminal 3 as a dedicated facility for the Dubai-based Emirates. On Thursday, Emirates said it would serve nearly 90 per cent of its pre-pandemic network by the end of July across 880 weekly services as it seeks to ramp up operations.
Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Airport’s said the decision to reopen Terminal 1 signalled optimism in a continuing recovery from the COVID-19 crisis: “This move signals our confidence that the outlook for the rest of the year and beyond is one of optimism, as well as being a clear indication of Dubai’s intent to lead the aviation industry in its efforts to enable social and economic recovery of the world.”
“Dubai’s aviation sector has been at the forefront of a global campaign to restore vital international air services with the opening of quarantine-free travel corridors between the UAE and multiple countries around the world,” Sheikh Al Maktoum continued.
By the end of the first quarter, around two-thirds of pre-pandemic airlines were once again operating flights to Dubai, including Air Canada which resumed flights at the start of June and Cathay Pacific which returned to DXB in May.
But passenger numbers were still way down – just 5.75 million passengers passed through the airport in Q1 and the number of flights was down by nearly 40 per cent. The airport has been hit by a ban on most arrivals from India, although that is set to be lifted for travellers who can prove they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Dubai Airports chief executive Paul Griffiths told Reuters on Sunday that he was hoping for a “flood” of travellers as travel restrictions were eased. The airport is targeting a total of 28 million passengers by the end of the year.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.