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Dubai Airport forecasts passenger numbers to reach 86.8million

Wed 15 Nov 2023    
The Brew News Team | 3 min read

DA’s 2023 forecast sees DXB soar beyond 2019 traffic to reach 86.8m

Fueled by robust growth in the initial three quarters and expectations of a notable surge in visitor numbers during the last quarter, Dubai Airports predicts that the annual passenger traffic at Dubai International (DXB) will reach 86.8 million, surpassing the levels recorded in 2019.

The growth momentum of DXB persisted throughout the second half of 2023, with an uninterrupted narrative of expansion. The average monthly traffic reached 7.6 million, maintaining levels comparable to those before the pandemic throughout the third quarter. This leading global hub achieved a milestone in Q3 with 22.9 million passengers, marking the highest quarterly traffic since 2019. This brings the total year-to-date traffic for the first nine months of the year to 64.5 million passengers, reflecting a remarkable increase of 39.3% compared to the same period in 2022 and a 1% surpassing of the 2019 figures.


“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. Teaming up with our strategic partners, we’re ready for the challenge to continue to exceed guest satisfaction amidst the continuous surge in traffic,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports. 

He added: “Our team embarked on a remarkable journey, navigating fresh challenges during the recovery period and swiftly revitalising the business. Instead of settling, we’re dedicated to exploring inventive solutions, reimagining traditional concepts, integrating state of the art technology, and addressing the mammoth challenge of sustainability. Events like the Dubai Airshow present the ideal platform to recognise accomplishments and foster future growth. This edition is clearly playing a critical role in forging the path for the industry’s future.”

Top destinations
With 8.9 million passengers in the first nine months of the year, India was DXB’s top country destination in terms of traffic volume, followed by Saudi Arabia with 4.8 million passengers, and the UK (4.4 million passengers). Other country destinations of note include Pakistan with 3.1 million passengers, the US (2.7 million) and Russia (1.8 million). The top cities by traffic were London (2.7 million passengers) and Riyadh (1.9 million), closely followed by Mumbai (1.8 million) and Jeddah (1.7 million passengers).

DXB’s baggage handling system processed a total of 57.5 million bags in 2023 with a success rate of 99.8% – a rate of 2.5 mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers – no mean feat for the world’s biggest hub for international traffic. In terms of baggage delivery on arrival, 91% of all baggage was delivered within 45 minutes to the guests. The baggage volume in 2023 represents 106.07% of the 2019 baggage volume at DXB.

The average waiting time at passport control queues was less than 11 minutes for 96.4% of the arriving passengers and 95.1% of passengers queued for less than six minutes at departure passport control. The average queue times at security-check on departures was less than four minutes for 98.4% of total passengers.

Cargo continued to gain momentum in the third quarter registering a surge of 12.3% year on year, to reach 446,400 tonnes. The strong performance this year has helped level out a double-digit contraction in cargo recorded at the end of last year. The hub recorded 1.3 million tonnes of cargo in the first nine months of the year, registering a minor decline of under 1%.

Flight movements in Q3 surged by 5.1% in the third quarter to reach 106,000. DXB handled 308,000 in total flight movements between January and September, up 25.2% year-on year.

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