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October and November have turned out to be bumper months for Dubai International, setting the stage for an extremely busy second-half in December. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai International's (DXB) Terminal 3 is expected to serve more than 1.6 million passengers in the second-half of December during the month's peak seasonal period.

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 per cent operational, said Dubai Airports in a statement. Visitors to Dubai exceeded 1 million during October, and DXB reached the important milestone of 1 million passengers per week in November, with origin-destination passengers reaching 94 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

Early steps

"Reaching the point where 100 per cent 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 Dubai and its economic growth," said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports. "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."

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 last.

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

- Paul Griffiths of Dubai Airports

Steady return and then...

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.