Airport retailer Dubai Duty Free (DDF) has confirmed it has already recalled hundreds of workers that were laid off during the coronavirus pandemic, as international air travel begins to show signs of recovery from last year’s lows. 

More than 900 ground staff have already been reinstated to their previous positions and more workers are expected to rejoin later, Dubai Duty Free confirmed on Tuesday. 

“To date, over 900 Dubai Duty Free staff have already been rehired and we are undergoing rehire by batches continually. They undergo their induction and thereafter resume work in their respective areas,” the airport retailer told Zawya. 

Dubai Duty Free is the latest in the travel sector to confirm beefing up of resources amid increasing number of passengers taking to the skies again. Dubai-based carrier Emirates Airlines had announced in October that it will recruit 6,000 operational staff over a six-month period to support its growing network. 

Airlines and other businesses in the aviation sector, including ground handling companies and airport retailers, were forced to trim their payrolls after thousands of commercial planes were grounded and passenger traffic plummeted to record lows last year. 

Rehiring efforts 

DDF is one of the major players in the duty-free market, with annual sales exceeding 2 billion dirhams ($544 million). 

Dubai Airports has recently reported that traffic at Dubai International has jumped by nearly 20 percent in the last four weeks. Total traffic from January to October reached 20.7 million, prompting Dubai Airports to revise its forecast for the year by an additional 2 million passengers to 28.7 million. 

“While we are still a long way from pre-pandemic levels of traffic, we are encouraged to see this significant increase in the rate of passenger growth,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports. 

Dubai International’s Concourse A is set to reopen this month, putting the airport back to full capacity after nearly two years of reduced operations. 

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by  Seban Scaria) 

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