Dubai airports targets 28m passengers this year

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Dubair International Airport

Nevin Al Sukari - Abu Dhabi - Terminal 1 is reopening this Thursday after a 15-month closure. File photo

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

Dubai Airports has announced that it will reopen Dubai’s International’s Terminal 1 and Concourse D on 24th June. The facilities were closed on 25th March 2020 following the partial suspension of operations at DXB to control the spread of COVID-19.

Dubai's state airport operator is hoping for a “flood” of travellers as the coronavirus pandemic eases, targeting passenger traffic through Dubai International Airport to grow 8% to 28 million this year as demand rebuilds.


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Terminal 1 is reopening this Thursday after a 15-month closure. Operations were consolidated through Terminals 2 and 3 last year as the pandemic took hold.

Welcoming the reopening of Terminal 1 as an important step in preparing to accommodate the anticipated growth in travel demand in the coming months, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports, said, "Dubai’s aviation sector has been at the forefront of a global campaign to restore vital international air services with the opening of quarantine-free travel corridors between the UAE and multiple countries around the world.

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Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum visits an exhibition in Dubai. File photo

"People think it will trickle back. I don't believe that. I believe it will be an absolute flood of demand when people get the confidence to travel again," Dubai Airports Chief Executive Paul Griffiths told Reuters on Sunday.

The airport, one of the world's busiest, could see over 40 million passengers this year if it was "really, really lucky," Griffiths said, though it was likely to be somewhere between 24.7 million and 34.3 million.

"We're comfortable with that mid-range of about 28 (million)."

Terminal 1 has an annual passenger capacity of 18 million, while the entire airport can handle up to 100 million.

Griffiths estimated the terminal's reopening would result in 3,500 additional jobs at the airport, including those working in retail, hospitality, security and immigration.

Perfect beginning
In 2020, passenger traffic plummeted 70% to 25.9 million from 86.4 million in 2019.

By the autumn, 90% of the 260 destinations served from Dubai airport prior to the pandemic could be restored, Griffiths said, up from 63% today.

Dubai announced on Saturday some restrictions on passengers flying from India, South Africa and Nigeria would ease from Wednesday.

The airport handled 5.75 million passengers in the first quarter, a 67.8% fall compared to the same quarter in 2020 before the pandemic halted traffic.

In 2020, passenger traffic plummeted 70% to 25.9 million from 86.4 million in 2019. The airport is the base of state carriers Emirates and flydubai whose entire operations are international flights.

Over a two-week period starting Thursday, 66 foreign airlines will move from Terminal 2 and 3 to Terminal 1.

Terminal 3, where Emirates operates from, will continue to operate with two of its three concourses for the time being.

Dubai's second airport, Al Maktoum International, will also remain closed to commercial passenger flights.

 

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