Despite a 45-day shutdown of one of Dubai International Airport’s two runways for maintenance, the number of travellers utilising the airport nearly quadrupled during the second quarter. The world’s busiest international airport handled 14.2 million passengers in the three months to the end of June, up almost 191 percent year on year, continuing growth for nine straight quarters since the start of the coronavirus epidemic, state-owned operator Dubai Airports said on Wednesday.

The airport’s resurgence, which serves as the hub for long-haul carrier Emirates, coincides with a robust rebound in foreign traffic. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), international traffic increased by approximately 230 percent year on year in June, aided by the relaxation of travel restrictions in most Asia-Pacific regions. Passenger volumes more than doubled to 27.9 million in the first half of the year, according to Dubai Airports, compared to the same period last year. This is 1.2 million fewer than the previous year’s total annual traffic at the airport.

The airport exceeded 67.5 percent of its pre-pandemic passenger throughput in the first half of 2019. Despite “unprecedented challenges” and “macroeconomic factors” affecting the global economy and tourism sector, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) reported 7.12 million international visitors in the first half of 2022, nearly three times the 2.52 million recorded in the same period the previous year.

Dubai Airports now anticipates 62.4 million passengers in 2022, up from an earlier figure of 58.3 million in May. DXB remained India’s leading source country in terms of passenger counts, with traffic hitting 4 million passengers in the first half of the year, fueled mostly by key metropolitan destinations such as Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad. Saudi Arabia came in second with 2 million passengers, followed by the United Kingdom with 1.9 million.

The top three destinations were London (1.3 million passengers), Riyadh (910,000 passengers), and Mumbai (760,000 passengers). Despite the disruption, huge queues, and delayed luggage at major European and American airports, DXB stated that 96% of travelers waited less than five minutes at the exit passport control.

The average wait time at the security checkpoint on departure was less than three minutes for 97 percent of all passengers. Cargo volumes for the first six months of the year declined roughly 19% year on year to 910,075 tonnes in the air freight market. According to Dubai Airports, DXB’s cargo traffic suffered during the second quarter as major freight operators returned to Dubai World Central (DWC) in March.

Furthermore, overall cargo volumes were impacted by a lower capacity during the northern runway restoration operation, which ran from May 9 to June 22, because a large amount of cargo traffic at DXB is carried in the belly-hold of passenger aircraft, according to the report.

Source: WION

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