Dubai International Airport (DXB) is once again capable of operating at 100 per cent capacity after many facilities were shut at the height of the pandemic and chief executive Paul Griffiths expects visitor numbers to the city to exceed pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year.
After a 20 month closure, DXB brought reopened the airport’s Concourse A last month – the world’s largest purpose-built airport facility capable of handling the Airbus A380 superjumbo. Concourse A alone is capable of handling 18 million passengers per year.
“The rate of recovery of DXB has exceeded most other airports of comparable size and highlights the positive international reputation that Dubai has as an attractive city that has taken decisive steps to protect its visitors and residents,” Griffiths risaid on Monday.
“The number of visitors to Dubai is likely to exceed pre-pandemic levels during the final few weeks of the year which is an excellent milestone on our journey towards full recovery.”
Despite mounting uncertainty over the Omicron variant, Griffiths estimates that Terminal 3 will handle 1.6 million passengers in the second half of December. Terminal 3 is the exclusive home of Emirates after foreign airlines were moved back to Terminal 1 and Concourse D earlier this year.
The recovery has been rapid and went on DXB handling one million passengers during the entire month of October, to the airport processing one million passengers every single week during the month of December.
Emirates’ President Sir Tim Clark fears the Omicron variant may pose challenges early in the New Year but with vaccines and new treatments increasingly available any slowdown should be short-lived and not as drastic as in March 2020.
What makes DXB’s comeback so impressive is the fact that nearly all air traffic to and from Dubai was grounded for the first few months of the pandemic. Dubai’s rulers embraced an aggressive and largely successful reopening plan in July 2020 and the city has shown no sign of slowing down ever since.
DXB now expects to have handled 28.9 million passengers by the end of 2021 – an increase of more than two million since the last estimate in September.
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.