Dubai visitor numbers to exceed pre-pandemic levels in final weeks of 2021, DXB chief says

Terminal 3 is expected to serve more than 1.6 million passengers in the second half of December during the holiday travel period

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The number of visitors to Dubai is expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels in the remaining few weeks of 2021 during the peak holiday travel period, in a further sign of the airport's and tourism industry's continued recovery.

Dubai International Airport (DXB)'s Terminal 3 is expected to handle more than 1.6 million passengers in the second half of December during the month's peak seasonal travel period, operator Dubai Airports said in a statement on Monday.

Visitors to Dubai exceeded 1 million during the month of October and DXB handled 1 million passengers per week in November, with origin-destination passengers reaching 94 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

“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,” Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports, said.

“We took early steps to implement best-in-class hygiene and health protocols, fast track PCR testing facilities, and enhanced customer service and guest support resources to ensure the comfort, convenience and safety of travellers — and this has resulted in a strong recovery towards pre-pandemic levels of passengers.”

Following the reopening of the final phase of Concourse A at Terminal 3 in DXB, the world's busiest airport by international traffic is now operating at its full capacity.

“Reaching the point where 100 per cent of our facilities are now open and serving customers, plus the huge resurgence in passengers arriving into Dubai marks an important milestone for the aviation sector as well as for the city of Dubai and its economic growth,” Mr Griffiths said.

Emirates Airline, the main airline customer at DXB, has restored 90 per cent of its network and is on track to reach 70 per cent of its pre-Covid-19 capacity by the end of 2021.

Dubai Airports raised its forecast for annual passenger traffic this year by an additional two million, anticipating the influx of travellers at Dubai International Airport (DXB) will reach 28.7 million as travel restrictions in key markets start to ease.

It is projecting 57 million annual passengers for next 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,” Mr Griffiths said.

Updated: December 21, 2021, 3:17 AM