More than 750,000 passengers have flown in and out of Dubai International Airport since Friday, as the extended Eid Al Adha holiday kick-starts the summer travel rush.
Some employees had also booked Monday off work to maximise their holiday allowance, in a move expected to further increase airport traffic.
Dubai authorities told The National they were braced for the spike in passengers.
Lt Gen Mohammed Al Marri, director general of Dubai's General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, said the airport had welcomed 752,167 passengers from Friday until midnight on Tuesday.
“During Eid and summer holidays, the airport sees more travellers and our job is to ensure smooth and happy journeys,” Lt Gen Al Marri told The National during a tour of the airport on the first day of Eid Al Adha on Wednesday.
“Using advanced technologies such as smart gates and the high level of staff working helped to ensure a smooth operation,” he added.
Travel smart to avoid delays
With a busy summer still ahead, Lt Gen Al Marri urged passengers to use the airport's smart gates system to ease the pressure on passport control officers and ensure they reach their flights in good time.
The fast-track “biometric passenger journey” uses face and iris-recognition technology to let travellers pass through passport control in seconds.
Lt Gen Al Marri said nine million people passed through the smart gates in the first six months of this year.
Maj Gen Talal Al Shanqiti, assistant general director of the Airports Sector at the GDRFA, said the authority wants half of passengers to go smart by the end of the year.
“As more travellers expect to pass through the airport in the summer with holidays and returning from holidays, more people will be using the smart gates,” he said.
“Thirty-seven per cent of travellers use the smart gates and we aim to reach 50 per cent by the end of this year. It is an easy and efficient way to complete airport procedures in a few seconds.”
Officials previously said they expected 3.5 million passengers to use the airport from June 20 to July 3, up from 2.4 million in the corresponding period last year.
On July 2, incoming passenger traffic will be at its highest, with Dubai International Airport expecting to welcome a record 305,000 passengers.
At the airport, passengers praised the efficiency of staff members.
“I was nervous when I heard the airport would be super busy during the Eid holiday," said Mohammed Ismail, 45, from Jordan, who was flying to Istanbul with his family.
“I was surprised with how smooth and well-organised the procedures were. I passed the passport control area in seconds without delay.
“I’m travelling to Turkey with my family for two weeks' vacation. The airport staff were friendly and helpful. They gave us a positive feeling to start the vacation.”
Buti Al Falasi, who was traveling with his family to Phuket, Thailand, said the traffic around the airport was well organised, despite the high numbers of people driving to terminals.
“Despite the long queues, the airport staff have been incredibly helpful and I'm grateful for their efforts in ensuring a smooth travel experience,” said Mr Al Falasi after he passed passport control.
“Many people are travelling these days and expect delays but so far, the journey has been quick and without trouble."