There will be a lot of luggage movements this year at Dubai International, with more high-profile events to be hosted. In 2023, Dubai Airport recorded 78 million travellers passing through. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: The Dubai International Airport has raised its full-year 2023 passenger forecast to 78 million after seeing through 66 million travellers in 2022. And Q4-22 numbers of 19.72 million passengers – boosted by FIFA World Cup and year-end traffic – ensured that 2022 closed on a high for DXB.

“It was the busiest quarter since 2019 – (and) December was the busiest month with 7.1 million passengers,” said a statement. It was also the ‘first time since January 2020 that DXB’s monthly traffic hit the 7 million mark’.

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COP28, Dubai Air Show to drive 2023 numbers

On 2023 prospects, Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, said, “Given its dynamism and global impact, there is never a dull year for the aviation sector, and 2023 will be no exception.

“With DXB forecast to welcome 78 million passengers this year, and Dubai hosting major events, including the Dubai Airshow and COP28, it will be another year of new challenges and opportunities, and we are ready for them.

“Our top priority in 2023 will be our customers, people, and sustainability – three key areas crucial to our aspirations and goals as the world’s busiest global hub.”

Dubai airport is well on its way to achieving the pre-pandemic passenger traffic numbers after its growth outpaced the 2022 forecast of 62.8 million.

The pre-Covid years saw Dubai International record passenger numbers in the 80 million plus range. The 2023 forecasts take DXB closer to matching – and surpassing – those. Image Credit: Supplied

DXB welcomed 66,069,981 passengers during 2022, a year-on year-growth of 127 per cent.

Griffiths said, “We knew that 2022 was the year when growth would return to the air travel sector in a big way. But the surge was much stronger than anticipated, and we had to do our best to turn that challenge into an opportunity.”

Before the pandemic, Dubai Airports was on track to break its record for annual passenger traffic in 2019, with 86.4 million passengers passing through. In 2018, the airport set a new record with 89.1 million passengers, up from 83.6 million in 2016.

Dubai’s aviation industry has been a critical driver of economic growth and tourism in the UAE and wider region. DXB connects 229 destinations across 99 countries through more than 88 international carriers.

Waiting times

The average waiting time at passport control queues was less than 13 minutes for 95.48 per cent of the arriving passengers. And 96.24 per cent of passengers queued for less than 5 minutes at departure passport control.

The average queue time at security check-on departures was less than three minutes for 96.38 per cent of passengers.

Top destinations into and from Dubai

India retained its position as the top destination country for DXB by passenger volume, with 9.8 million passengers, followed by Saudi Arabia with 4.9 million passengers, and the UK with 4.6 million passengers.

Other top destination countries include Pakistan (3.7 million passengers), the US (3 million), and Russia (1.9 million), which along with Turkey (1.6 million), has recorded more than 100 per cent recovery in passenger volumes compared to 2019 levels.

DXB’s top destination cities in 2022 were London with 3 million passengers, Riyadh (2 million), Mumbai (1.9 million) and Jeddah and New Delhi with 1.7 million passengers.

  1. DXB’s baggage handling system processed 62.2 million bags in 2022 with a success rate of 99.8 per cent (or2.2 mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers.
  2. Regarding baggage delivery on arrival, 92 per cent of all baggage was delivered within 45 minutes to passengers. The baggage volume in 2022 represents 86.2 per cent of the 2019 baggage volume at DXB.

Flight and cargo movements

Total flight movements at DXB totalled 96,701 during the fourth quarter bringing the annual flight movements to 343,339, a growth of 47 per cent. The average number of passengers per flight reached 204, up 33 per cent year-on-year.

Cargo continued to register a volume contraction, with 420,125 tonnes recorded in the fourth quarter, down 31.7 per cent compared to 614,834 tonnes in Q4-2021.

DXB handled 1.72 million tonnes of cargo during 2022, a drop of 25.5 per cent resulting from the moving of all significant freight operators back to Dubai World Central (DWC) and the return of passenger-freighter aircraft back to passenger operations during the year.