In a stellar performance and a casebook study for managing business in times of trouble, Dubai International Airport has retained the position of being the busiest airport in the world in terms of international passenger traffic for a remarkable eighth consecutive year.
With 29.1 million passengers in 2021, DXB, as the airport code is, registered a growth of 12.7 pc in passenger numbers over the year 2020. The performance ultimately beat even Dubai Airport’s own forecast by half a million. The airport’s performance was partly due to exceptionally strong numbers in the last three months of the year, thanks in part to the ongoing Expo 2020 that kicked off on October 1 in Dubai and so far has attracted over 15 million visitors, including those from the United Arab Emirates.
The airport received 11.7 million passengers in the period October 1-December 31, a sharp jump of 77 pc over the previous three-month period. It also marked the busiest quarter since Quarter 1 of 2020. Within the last quarter as well, the traffic continued to grow, and December 2021 was the busiest month of the year with 4.5 million passengers.
The growth is expected to continue and even pickup pace in the year 2022 and Dubai is expected to see the passenger traffic hit 55.1 million this year, a growth of almost 90 pc in the year. But that’s not all. Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Airports Paul Griffiths believes that even this figure could be exceeded significantly if the current market trends continue.
“Despite unprecedented turmoil affecting millions of people all over the world, we overcame many serious obstacles to the operation of the world’s largest international hub and provided smooth, comfortable and safe travel for millions of people travelling through DXB. This incredible performance by all of our staff and stakeholders was achieved in the face of abruptly changing travel regulations and concerns about new waves of infection. Despite these serious challenges to our ongoing success, we managed to exceed our own forecasts and continue to retain our crown as the world’s busiest international airport,’’ says Griffith.
“With the eagerly anticipated reopening of key markets such as Australasia and the further easing of travel regulations around the world, the outlook for 2022 is very promising and we are in an excellent position to continue to lead the world’s air travel sector on the road to recovery,” he adds.
Meanwhile, India retained its position as the top destination country for Dubai by passenger volume, with passenger traffic for 2021 totalling 4.2 million, followed by Pakistan with 1.8 million, Saudi Arabia with 1.5 million, and the UK with 1.2 million passengers. The top destination cities were Istanbul (916,000 passengers), Cairo (905,000), London (814,000) and New Delhi (791,000).