Dubai International (DXB), the world’s busiest airport in terms of global passenger numbers, has raised its forecast for airport traffic this year to 28.7 million after the number of flyers passing through its gates jumped by almost 20 percent in the last four weeks.
DXB handled a total of 20.7 million passengers from January to October 2021, nearly a third of which (6.7 million) were recorded in the third quarter. The airport is also preparing to reopen Concourse A this month, putting back its capacity to 100 percent after nearly two years of reduced operations, Dubai Airports announced on Monday.
“Significant market developments such as the UK’s vaccination-based travel programme, the resumption of flights to several important destinations in Australasia and the relaxation of restrictions for travel between India and the USA have all contributed to an upward revision in our forecast for the year by an additional 2 million passengers,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.
While passenger traffic is still “a long way” from returning to its levels before the pandemic, Griffiths said it is encouraging to see the “significant increase in the rate of passenger growth.”
“Our performance to date has led the global recovery in all aspects of aviation activity and the growing ability of countries around the world to manage the global pandemic is allowing travel restrictions to be lifted,” said Griffiths.
Dubai is playing host to several mega events that generate significant footfall, including the Expo 2020 Dubai and the Dubai Airshow 2021, which just opened on Sunday. The final quarter of the year is also a busy period for the hospitality sector, with international travellers seeking to spend winter holidays in the emirate.
The global air transport industry showed a moderate rebound in the last several weeks, helped by the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in some key markets.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), total demand for air travel in September, measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK), was down 53.4 percent compared to September 2019, marking an improvement from August, when demand was 56 percent below the same period in 2019.
“While the pandemic impact on the industry is still being felt, we are seeing some positive signs. International and domestic travel demand showed some momentum over the summer, while more borders are reopening,” John Happ, VP, Global Airline Sales of Intelsat, a provider of inflight broadband to airlines, told Zawya.
Griffiths said the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions has boost confidence in travel. “Our performance to date has led the global recovery in all aspects of aviation activity and the growing ability of countries around the world to manage the global pandemic is allowing travel to be lifted,” he said.
“This has given travellers both the confidence and freedom to plan long-awaited journeys with ease.
Dubai International is currently serving 83 percent of the destinations in 99 percent of the countries compared to before the health outbreak.
The largest source market for the airport this year is India, with 2.8 million passengers, followed by Pakistan (1 million) and Egypt (753,000). The United States was ranked the fourth largest contributor of traffic, with 710,000 flyers), while Turkey registered 598,000 passengers.
(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Daniel Luiz )
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© ZAWYA 2021