DUBAI (Reuters): Dubai’s main airport on Tuesday raised its passenger forecast for this year by nearly 2 million to 64.3 million people after a strong pick up in business in the third quarter from the same period last year.
DXB, a major gateway for international travel, handled nearly 18.5 million passengers in the three months to the end of September, up from 6.7 million a year earlier, state-owned operator Dubai Airports said in a statement.
The Gulf hub has seen more than 46.3 million passengers so far this year, up 168 percent year-on-year, and about 72 percent of its traffic in the same nine months of 2019, before the pandemic.
London was the top destination city in the third quarter, with 2 million passengers, followed by Riyadh and Mumbai. India was the top country destination, with 6.8 million passengers, followed by Saudi Arabia, Britain and Pakistan.
Passenger traffic at Dubai international airport returned to pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter as it had 18,455,938 visitors in the three months to September, the biggest number since 17.8 million in the first quarter of 2020.
“The growth in passenger traffic has been terrific throughout the year and continues to exceed our expectations by a margin,” Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths said.
Passenger forecasts have now been raised to 64.3 million for 2022 with “the prospects of a stronger surge in the offing” in the final quarter, the statement said.
This comes after Dubai International Airport remained the world’s busiest hub in terms of the number of global travelers during the year 2021.
The city airport saw 29.1 million passengers in 2021, up by 12.7 percent compared to the year earlier, according to figures issued by the Airports Council International annual report.
The report presented the top 10 busiest airports worldwide, which accounted for around 10 percent of global traffic in 2021.
It noted that eight of the top 10 airports for passenger traffic were in the US with the two remaining in China in 2021.