Dubai International Airport sure is seeing a lot of travellers, and a strong Q1-23 now has the entity raising full-year 2023 estimates to 83 million passengers. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: After a first quarter surge, Dubai International Airport (DXB) has again revised its 2023 forecasts, to 83 million passengers against the initial estimates of 78 million. 

In the first quarter, the airport oversaw more than 21.2 million visitors. Based on these numbers, Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, is confident the hub will continue exceeding those initial forecasts for 2023. In 2022, DXB had 66 million travellers, helped by the city experiencing a consistent demand from visitors, for leisure and business.

March 2023 saw the highest monthly traffic of 7.3 million passengers since January 2020.

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According to Griffiths, DXB tapped strong growth in demand across key markets. With China's travel protocols removed and with more festive holidays, the outlook for Q2-23 and the rest of the year remains optimistic.

"DXB's performance in the first quarter has exceeded our expectations and reflects the strong growth in demand we continue to see across our key markets," said Griffiths. 

Cargo and flight movements

DXB's passenger traffic totalled 21,256,489 during the first three months, up 55.8 per cent compared to Q1-22.

This marks the first time since the fourth quarter of 2019 that the average monthly traffic reached the 7-million passenger mark. The airport's total flight movements during Q1 grew 23 per cent year-on-year, reaching 100,840 and surpassing Q1-19 by 1.6 per cent.

With load factors easily surpassing 2019 levels, the passenger per aircraft movement rose 19.5 per cent to 220 (passengers per aircraft). Today, the hub is connected to 234 destinations across 99 countries via 89 scheduled international carriers.

Cargo volumes drop

During this period, DXB handled 400,015 tonnes of cargo, a contraction of 23 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2022, when it did 519,555 tonnes.

India tops as destination again

India remained DXB's top destination, with passenger traffic reaching 3 million, followed by Saudi Arabia (1.6m), the UK (1.4m) and Pakistan (1m). Those to the US were 840,000, Russian numbers hit 729,000 and that to Germany 628,000.

The list of top cities by passenger numbers was led by London (890,000), Mumbai (645,000), and Jeddah (641,000), followed closely by Riyadh (604,000).