Dubai, the world’s busiest airport for international passengers before the Covid-19 pandemic, had 18,455,938 visitors in the three months to September, the highest number since 17.8 million in the first quarter of 2020.
Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths said the recovery in the number of passengers traveling directly to and from Dubai, rather than transiting through the commercial capital of the United Arab Emirates, had “exceeded our expectations”.
“The recovery of the point-to-point market, people coming to and from Dubai, has been faster than the transfer market,” he told AFP.
“It’s understandable because much of the transfer market, particularly in South East Asia, Australasia and China, has taken a very long time to recover.”
The passenger forecast was raised to 64.3 million for 2022 with “the prospect of a stronger increase on the horizon” in the final quarter, according to a statement from the company.
The airport handled 46.3 million passengers from January to September, up 167.6 percent year-on-year and 72 percent of the number recorded in the same period of 2019.
Annual projections stand at 77.8 million for next year and 87.4 million for 2024, which would surpass the pre-pandemic level of 86.4 million seen in 2019, Griffiths said.
The annual figure is expected to reach a record 93.3 million passengers in 2025, beating the current mark of 89.2 million set in 2018.