Dubai International Airport is lighting up with significant growth in passenger numbers, and expects to turn in a much higher than forecast tally in the final three months of 2022. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Dubai International Airport (DXB) has raised its passenger traffic forecasts for 2022 to 64.3 million, following solid recovery to pre-Covid levels in the third quarter. It now expects a higher surge in the final three months of the year.

DXB started the year's second-half with a bang, with average monthly traffic exceeding the 6 million mark through the third quarter. The hub recorded 18.5 million passengers in Q3-22 - the first time quarterly traffic reached pre-pandemic levels since 2020. DXB recorded 17.8 million passengers in the first quarter of 2020, just before the pandemic outbreak.

"The growth in passenger traffic has been terrific throughout the year and continues to exceed our expectations by a margin," said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports. "While we are thrilled with the numbers, what gives us immense satisfaction is how the airport community is working together like a well-oiled machine to keep raising the bar on service quality,”

Passenger volumes at DXB recorded a triple-digit surge in the third quarter to reach 18.45 million, propelling the year-to-date September traffic to 46.34 million passengers, a year-on-year increase of 167.6 per cent.

Top destinations

India remains DXB’s top country destination in terms of traffic volume, recording 6.8 million passengers in the first nine months of the year. Saudi Arabia was placed second with 3.4 million passengers, followed by the UK (3.2 million) and Pakistan (2.7 million). Other country markets were the US and Australia, with 2.2 million and 1.1 million in passenger traffic, respectively. The Top 3 cities by traffic were London (2 million passengers), Riyadh (1.5 million) and Mumbai (1.3 million).

Cargo operations

Impacted by moving all significant freight operators from DXB back to Dubai World Central (DWC) in March, cargo continued to register a softening in demand in Q3-2022. DXB recorded 397,676 tonnes of freight, bringing total volume for the first nine months of 2022 to 1.30 million tonnes, a year-on-year drop of 23.3 per cent.

Flight movements in Q3-22 surged to 98,577 at DXB, propelling the number of flight movements recorded between January and September to 274,911, up 159.5 per cent year-on-year.