Travel & Hospitality 58 million travellers expected at Dubai airport in 2022 By Andy Sambidge June 16, 2022 Creative Commons DXB's air traffic was badly affected by the pandemic but it still remained the busiest international airport in 2020 and 2021 Dubai International Airport (DXB) is set to serve over 58 million passengers this year, more than double the amount in 2021, as the UAE’s aviation sector continues to rebound from the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. The figure was revealed by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, chairman of Dubai Airports and chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline & Group. “The general forecast for 2022 remains positive with projections for annual traffic flow now estimated to reach 58.3 million passengers, exceeding initial forecasts by a significant margin,” he said. Business travel lagging behind tourism as Gulf goes virtualMalaysia’s AirAsia X to add new routes, including Dubai Air traffic plunged during the pandemic but Dubai International Airport remained the busiest airport for international passengers in 2020 and 2021 according to the Airports Council International. The airport served 29.1 million passengers in 2021 and 25.9 million in 2020. Sheikh Ahmed’s comments came during a review of works on the North Runway at Dubai International Airport, which is scheduled to reopen to aircraft on June 22. With an extremely tight schedule of just 45 days to complete, the North Runway Rehabilitation project is currently progressing according to plan. “The North Runway Rehabilitation project is a remarkable step in our efforts to facilitate and cater for the continuous growth of passengers and support the evolution of the air transport industry in the emirate,” Sheikh Ahmed said. “Dubai constantly seeks to ensure the resilience of its airport infrastructure and enhance the services provided to all passengers through deploying the latest state-of-the-art technologies.” The North Runway at Dubai International Airport underwent a major rehabilitation in 2014, followed by the South Runway in 2019 which included an upgrade to the technologies deployed, as part of a regular maintenance programme. The latest rehabilitation works involved the full 4,500 meters reconstruction of the central strip of the runway, all associated taxiways and graded safety strips. Over 295,000 tons of special mix asphalt and 125,000 tons of concrete have been placed on site since the start of the works to date. Over 4,230 LED airfield lights have been upgraded and reinstalled. In addition, the latest technology in the Navigational Aid and the Meteorological Equipment systems were also installed to improve the safety and increase the operational capacity of the North Runaway. Special measures were put in place to mitigate the overspill of the traffic resulting from this closure to the passenger terminal of Dubai World Central, the city’s second airport. The airport runway works follow the UAE’s strong tourism performance during the first quarter of 2022. In Q1, the UAE’s tourism sector exceeded the growth rates recorded not only in 2020 and 2021, but also during the same period in 2019. The country’s hotel establishments attracted nearly 6 million visitors who spent 25 million hotel nights in the country, reflecting a growth of 10 percent compared to the same period in 2019. Additionally, the average duration of hotel guest stays reached 25 percent during the same period, up from three nights to four. The occupancy rate of hotel establishments in the country during this period achieved 80 percent growth, which is one of the highest globally. Hotels also generated a total revenue of AED11 billion with a 20 percent growth compared to the same period in 2019 and resumed operations at full capacity of approximately 200,000 rooms.