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Dubai airport annual passenger traffic soars 127% in 2022

REUTERS/AbdelHadi Ramahi
Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths says Dubai as a city has rebounded, not just the aviation sector

Dubai’s main airport registered a 127 percent jump in annual passenger traffic to 66.1 million last year, it said on Tuesday, beating its own forecast.

Dubai International Airport (DXB), a major international hub, is forecast to welcome 78 million passengers this year as the United Arab Emirates prepares to host major international events including the Cop28 climate conference.

Dubai Airports, the airport’s operator, in November forecast DXB passenger traffic to reach 64.3 million in 2022.

About 60 percent of people travelling through DXB, the hub of airline Emirates, are origin and destination travellers while 40 percent are transfers, Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths told Reuters in his office at DXB.

While the figures are still below volumes reached before the Covid-19 pandemic, Griffiths said he wouldn’t be surprised if they began to exceed pre-pandemic monthly levels during the second half of this year.

“I am hopeful that we continue to revise in the upward direction; Dubai as a city has rebounded, not just the aviation sector,” Griffiths said.

The state-owned operator maintains its expectations for passenger levels to restore to pre-pandemic level by 2024.

Griffiths said China’s reopening after it ended pandemic restrictions is expected to feature strongly in the airport’s growth figures in the next few months.

DXB has 25 flights a week to seven cities on five different airlines, he said.

Dubai Airports is also reviewing expansion plans for Al Maktoum International, Griffiths said.