UAE is to see an influx of visitors and a massive jump of 10 per cent in air traffic in the coming days due to the long weekend of UAE National Day as well as the start of the 28th edition of the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2023 (COP28) which will see more than 70,000 delegates and business executives descending upon Dubai.

Set to run from November 30 to December 12, COP28 is the world’s largest gathering of leaders, businessmen and environmentalists this year. More than 140 heads of state including Britain’s King Charles III, Pope Francis, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Indian PM Narendra Modi, Pakistan’s Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar and many other Asian, African and European leaders.

“Expectations indicate a potential increase in air traffic flow during the conference's early days by up to 10 per cent, given its alignment with the UAE's 52nd National Day celebrations and official holidays. The country is also anticipated to host over 70,000 conference attendees, including heads of state, international organisations, media representatives, and others,” the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said on Tuesday.

Dubai International (DXB) on Tuesday projected that it would see the ''busiest winter ever" with nearly 4,400 flights (one-way) operating out of DXB every week, marking a 20 per cent increase from the previous winter season.

The GCAA also announced the readiness of the Sheikh Zayed Air Navigation Centre to accommodate the increased air traffic during the COP28 conference by the UAE.

In addition, the Conference Air Traffic Flow Management unit has also been activated to ensure smooth and efficient coordination with all strategic partners within and outside the country. This unit will utilise proactive systems to minimize flight delays and enhance air traffic efficiency.

“Today, we announce the completion of preparations at the Sheikh Zayed Air Navigation Center to accommodate the increased air traffic during the COP28 conference. At the General Civil Aviation Authority, we are working to harness advanced infrastructure and qualified teams to ensure the efficient regulation of the growing air traffic during the global events hosted by the country. These preparations underscore our commitment to providing distinguished air navigation services that reflect the UAE's position in the international aviation and air navigation arena," said Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, the director-general of the General Civil Aviation Authority.

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