Dubai airport August 5 2021
Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai's airport plans to reopen its last remaining closed concourse in two weeks, allowing it to return to full capacity for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman of Emirates airline.

The announcement comes after Dubai International (DXB) reclaimed the top spot as the world’s busiest international airport in terms of capacity

UAE, which is hosting Expo 2020 and the T20 World Cup, is entering its peak tourist season, which starts from November and goes all the way until March. Passenger traffic got an instant boost after UAE lifted restrictions on travel from a handful of countries, including India and Pakistan.

Dubai's COVID-19 response was focused on "protecting the health and well being of the people as a top priority, while minimizing the impact of the crisis on the nation's economy," said Sheikh Ahmed, during a press briefing ahead of the Dubai Airshow, which starts on November 14.

Terminal 1 reopening

Dubai Airports reopened Dubai International's Terminal 1 and Concourse D on June 24. The facilities were closed on March 25, 2020 following the partial suspension of operations at DXB as part of its COVID-19 response.

The reopening of the facilities was expected to enable the return of 40 plus international carriers that were operating at Terminals 2 and 3 back to their home terminal at DXB. Opened in February 2016, the $1.2 billion Concourse D is linked to Terminal 1 by an airport train, and the combination of these two facilities provide world class service levels for an annual capacity of 18 million passengers.

Strong second-half

Dubai Airports is expecting ‘robust’ growth for Dubai International (DXB) in the second-half of the year after the airport clocked 10.6 million passengers in the first six months of 2021.

India was DXB’s top destination country by traffic volume in the first-half with passenger numbers exceeding 1.9 million. Pakistan was second with 700,074 customers, followed by Russia (406,209) and Egypt (401,361).

Other destination countries of note included Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and the US. The top three cities by traffic were Addis Ababa (354,804), followed by Cairo (345,886) and Moscow (344,175)

Expo 2020 boost

Expo 2020 has also brought in tourists, businessmen and organizers from all over. On Monday, the organisers hailed the first month of the event as a “huge success”, and announced an impressive 2,350,868 visits in October.

The event, which opened its doors to the public on October 1, is expected to bring in 25 million visitors over the next six months.