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Dubai Airport expects rebound to pre-pandemic numbers

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Dubai Airports predicts that annual passenger traffic will reach 86.8 million, driven by strong growth throughout the year and an expected surge in numbers during the fourth quarter

Dubai International (DXB), one of the world’s busiest airports, saw a record of 22.9 million passengers during the third quarter of this year, according to Dubai Airports.

The airport is on track to surpass pre-pandemic numbers by the end of the year, with total passenger traffic for the first nine months of 2023 standing at 64.5 million, which is 39.3% higher than the same period last year and 1% above the traffic of the same period in 2019.

Dubai Airports predicts that annual passenger traffic will reach 86.8 million, driven by strong growth throughout the year and an expected surge in numbers during the fourth quarter. This forecast is an increase on the previous prediction of 85 million passengers for 2023.

Dubai has rebounded quickly from the COVID-19 pandemic, benefiting from its safe-haven status amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and relaxed residency rules, which have boosted property prices.

Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports said, “We’re thrilled but not entirely surprised that DXB is all set to surpass the pre-pandemic milestone well ahead of our initial projections by almost a year. Our outlook for the remainder of this year and the next remains optimistic.”

The statement from Dubai Airports did not specify what would lead to the surge in passenger numbers in the fourth quarter, but Dubai will host the U.N.’s COP 28 climate summit from November 30. India was DXB’s top country destination until September 30, with 8.9 million passengers, followed by Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, one of the world’s longest unresolved conflicts escalated once again on October 7, when Hamas orchestrated an attack on southern Israel.

The immeasurable cost to lives and livelihoods aside, the economies of Israel, its neighbours, and the world at large are also taking a hit.

There are apprehensions of trade disruptions, oil price hikes, and further inflation compounding with the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It is a tumultuous time, especially for the aviation industry.

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