Following the opening of the final phase of Concourse A at Dubai International’s (DXB) Terminal 3, the world’s busiest international airport is 100% operational with all terminals, concourses, lounges, restaurants, and retail outlets now open. Terminal 3 is expected to serve more than 1.6 million passengers in the second half of December during the month’s peak seasonal travel period.
Visitors to Dubai exceeded 1 million during the month of October and DXB reached the important milestone of 1 million passengers per week in November, with origin-destination passengers reaching 94% of pre-pandemic levels.
“Reaching the point where 100% of our facilities are now open and serving customers, plus the huge resurgence in passengers arriving into Dubai marks an important milestone for the aviation sector as well as for the city of Dubai and its economic growth. We took early steps to implement best-in-class hygiene and health protocols, fast track PCR testing facilities, and enhanced customer service and guest support resources to ensure the comfort, convenience and safety of travelers – and this has resulted in a strong recovery towards pre-pandemic levels of passengers,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.
He added: “This has been an enormous team effort and our employees and stakeholders have responded magnificently to the significant challenge of getting DXB back up and running at 100% capacity.”
The journey back to full operations following the closure in March 2020 began with the reopening of Terminals 2 and 3 and Concourses B and C for normal inbound passenger operations from June 22, 2020, following the easing of international travel regulations for residents by UAE authorities. Outbound travel for UAE citizens and residents was opened on June 23 while Dubai welcomed the first international tourists from July 7, 2020. Dubai Airports reopened Terminal 1 and Concourse D, home to over 60 international airlines, on June 24, 2021.
Over past 18 months, there has been a steady increase in passenger traffic which has intensified in recent months. Traffic reached 10.6 million passengers in the first half of 2021, followed by robust growth in Q3 of 2021 and a surge in October 2021 which took the year-to-date passenger numbers to 20.7 million. With the busy holiday season to the end of the year showing further growth, passenger numbers are expected to reach 28.9 million by the end of 2021, 2.1 million more than the September 2021 forecast.
Paul Griffiths added: “The rate of recovery of DXB has exceeded most other airports of comparable size and highlights the positive international reputation that Dubai has as an attractive city that has taken decisive steps to protect its visitors and residents. The number of visitors to Dubai is likely to exceed pre-pandemic levels during the final few weeks of the year which is an excellent milestone on our journey towards full recovery.”