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Tough year ends with strong traffic recovery for Dubai International Airport


Dubai International Airport (DXB) today revealed that it handled 25.9 million passengers in 2020, the figure being boosted by traffic recovery in the second half of a tough year.

The total meant that the world’s busiest international airport welcomed 70% fewer passengers than it did in 2019.

According to operator, Dubai Airports, DXB’s closing data “showed a noted recovery in many areas, especially the return to services in global markets thanks to the strength in operations of Emirates and flydubai, and the confidence shown by international airlines coming back into the region”.

CEO, Paul Griffiths, says: “In the past year we have witnessed the most difficult circumstances the travel industry has ever faced.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt not only in our sector, but across the entire world. These DXB passenger traffic figures are reflective of that testing environment, but also come with an element of hope and confidence.

“An integral part of recovery for the travel and tourism industry is rebuilding the confidence of travellers, and one way to do this is through a vaccination programme, similar to what is currently being carried out by the UAE government.

“This, along with technology that will allow for seamless and contactless travel, will once encourage more people to get on a plane. In addition, we have transformed our DXB and DWC cargo operations. As an intercontinental hub we are well positioned to support the distribution of vaccines from the countries manufacturing them, to the world.

“Looking forward, we are confident of a steady, but optimistic outlook. We are constantly monitoring future schedules and bookings, working with airlines on their plans to return to DXB and new routes to be introduced.

“This will allow us to ensure we have sufficient capacity and operational capability available to support as the recovery gains pace.”

From a markets and destination perspective, the recovery is strong, insists Dubai Airports, noting that there are currently 142 destinations (61% recovery) served from DXB to 80 markets (85% recovery) on 56 airlines (75% recovery).

There was some growth through the government alliances being made in the latter part of the year, allowing flights to and from Israel.

India, it states, retained its position as the top destination country for DXB by passenger numbers, with traffic for 2020 reaching 4.3 million, followed by the United Kingdom with 1.89 million and Pakistan coming in third with 1.86 million.

Other destination countries of note include Saudi Arabia with 1.45 million customers in 2020.

The top three cities were London (1.15 million customers), Mumbai (772 thousand customers) and New Delhi with 722 thousand customers.

Operational efficiency
While 2020 was a year of uncertainty, one key positive for Dubai Airports was the strength found in its partnerships.

Airline partners Emirates and flydubai, for example, both played a pivotal role in DXB’s recovery efforts, along with dnata and all of the official entities that make up the aviation community in Dubai.

Within the airport environment, says DXB, its customer facing partners in the retail, service, restaurant and beverage areas showed incredible strength and resilience through the quiet period.

As one of the first airports to offer financial support to our partners during 2020, DXB was able to maintain its business and move quickly to reopen outlets as passenger traffic, and demand, increased.

These partnerships were also strengthened, and confidence in the future of DXB was shown through contract extensions with existing companies such as Travelex, new innovation from long-term partners, JCDecaux and new agreements with leading Dubai hotel group, Jumeirah, notes the airport.

In addition, the Dubai Health Authority’s ability to react quickly to the ever-changing environment and needs of the Emirate saw COVID-19 PCR test facilities being set up in DXB for arriving customers, making the movement of tourists and returning residents more efficient.



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