Dubai airport expects more than four million passengers in 16 days

Daily numbers will reach 258,000 as people take to the skies during the festive season

Dubai International Airport is gearing up for a spike in passenger traffic in December. Photo: Dubai Airports
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Passengers face lengthy queues at Dubai International Airport over the next two weeks as it gears up for a busy festive season.

Operator Dubai Airports is expecting four million passengers to move through its doors between December 15 and 31.

Daily footfall is projected to reach 258,000, with December 22 set to be the busiest day, with 279,000 travellers.

The surge in arrivals is anticipated during the final two weekends of the year, with half a million touching down in the six days from December 22 to 24 and December 29 to 31.

To take advantage of the increased traffic, Terminals 1, 2 and 3 are hosting activities, including 3D photo opportunities in a giant snow globe, roaming performers handing out gifts and a meet-and-greet with Santa Claus and his elves for the younger jet-setters.

“We welcomed new airlines and additional flights at DXB at the start of the winter to help attract a growing number of visitors to Dubai and connect them to even more cities," said Essa Al Shamsi, senior vice president of Terminal Operations at Dubai Airports.

"Backed by a state-of-the-art airport operations control centre, our dedicated teams across DXB are committed to making the festive travel experience cheerful and bright."

The team offered some helpful tips to passengers hoping to beat the festive rush. These include using Emirates's at-home check-in services or self-service touchpoints at the airport. There is also a city check-in option at ICD Brookfield Place in DIFC in Dubai and a dedicated facility in Ajman for Emirates passengers.

Flydubai advises passengers to arrive at least four hours before departure time at Terminal 2, while for other airlines in Terminal 1 the advice is no earlier than three hours in advance. Use online check-in where available to save time, they add.

Families with children over the age of 12 can also use Smart Gates to speed up the passport control process.

The airport reminds travellers to keep up to date with the latest travel regulations for the destination you're travelling to and to be prepared with all necessary documentation.

To minimise unnecessary delays at baggage drop and security checks, make sure to pack spare batteries and power banks in hand luggage and weigh your bags at home.

During peak periods, only passengers will be allowed inside the terminals, so say any goodbyes at home before you arrive. To avoid any parking hassles, the airport suggests using Dubai Metro to get to and from Terminals 1 and 3, while any drivers are advised to avoid Airport Road leading to Terminal 1 and 3, if possible, as you are likely to experience congestion during peak hours.

Access to the arrivals' forecourts in Terminals 1 and 3 will also be limited to public transport and other authorised airport vehicles only, so anyone picking up guests during this time should use DXB's designated car parks or valet services.

Last year, the airport retained its position as the world's number one airport for international passenger traffic for the ninth consecutive time, welcoming 66 million travellers. This is an increase on pre-pandemic levels, as Dubai International exceeded 64.5 million in 2019.

Updated: December 14, 2023, 5:03 PM