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Dubai International Airport enjoys ‘spectacular’ recovery in second quarter


A steady surge of growth throughout the second quarter has propelled Dubai International’s (DXB) half yearly traffic to 27.9 million passengers, just 1.2 million shy of the airport’s total annual traffic last year.

DXB achieved the milestone despite a significant reduction in capacity resulting from the 45-day closure of its northern runway in May-June for a major refurbishment project.

Key figures

Maintaining its growth recovery for the ninth successive quarter since the start of the pandemic, DXB recorded 14.2 million passengers in the second quarter of 2022, a year-on-year jump of 190.6%.

The hub welcomed a total of 27,884,888 passengers in the first half of the year, up 161.9% compared to H1 2021. The traffic volume represents 67.5% of DXB’s pre-pandemic passenger traffic during the same period in 2019.

Top destinations

India remained DXB’s top destination country by passenger numbers with traffic for the first half reaching 4 million passengers – driven primarily by top city destinations such as Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad. Saudi Arabia was second on the list with 2 million passengers, followed closely by the United Kingdom with 1.9 million passengers.

Other country destinations of note include Pakistan (1.7 million passengers), and the U.S. (1.4 million passengers). The top three cities were London with 1.3 million passengers, Riyadh (910,000 passengers), and Mumbai (726,000 passengers).

Cargo and aircraft movements

DXB handled 390,520 tonnes of cargo in the second quarter, bringing the total freight volume for the first six months of 2022 to 910,075 tonnes, a contraction of 18.9%. DXB’s cargo traffic was impacted during the second quarter by the moving of major freight operators back to Dubai World Central (DWC) in March.

As a significant portion of the cargo traffic at DXB is carried within the hold of passenger aircraft, the total cargo throughput was affected by the reduction in capacity due to the northern runway refurbishment programme, which took place between 9th May and 22nd June.

During the first six months of 2022, DXB handled a total of 154,993 flight movements, up 55.9% compared to the first half of 2021. The figure represents 87% of the pre-pandemic flight movements at DXB during the first half of 2019.

“DXB’s recovery from the impact of the global pandemic has been spectacular, and that position has been strengthened during 2022, particularly during the second quarter,” enthused Dubai Airports CEO, Paul Griffiths.

“Not only has Dubai Airports been successful in managing the recovery, but customer service quality has been maintained throughout. We knew at the start of the pandemic that the dramatic downturn would be followed by an equally dramatic upturn, so we were well prepared for it and using all of the business data at our disposal were able to predict the start of the recovery.

“We worked with our service partners across the airport community to be ready and prepared to deliver the consistently smooth and easy experience that our passengers have come to expect at DXB.”

Based on the strong first half and projection of a stronger second half with average monthly traffic expected to reach 5.6 million passengers, Dubai Airports has readjusted upwards its annual forecast for 2022 to 62.4 million passengers.

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