Passenger traffic at Dubai international airport returned to pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter, officials said on Tuesday, with volumes nearing 18.5 million at the major aviation hub.
Dubai, the world's busiest airport for international passengers before the COVID-19 pandemic, had 18,455,938 visitors in the third quarter of the year, the biggest number since 17.8 million in the first quarter of 2020.
Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths said the recovery in passengers traveling directly to and from Dubai, rather than transiting the United Arab Emirates' commercial capital, 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.
"That's understandable because a lot of the transfer market, particularly in Southeast Asia, Australasia and China took a long, long time to recover."
Passenger forecasts have been raised to 64.3 million for 2022 with "the prospects of a stronger surge in the offing" in the final quarter, a company statement said.
The airport had 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 beat the pre-pandemic level of 86.4 million seen in 2019, Griffiths said.
The annual figure is projected to rise to a record 93.3 million passengers in 2025, beating the current mark of 89.2 million set in 2018.
Dubai, the world's busiest airport for international passengers before the COVID-19 pandemic, had 18,455,938 visitors in the third quarter of the year, the biggest...