STOCK DUBAI AIRPORT
A strong December and a consistent pick up in travel numbers through the rest of 2021 ensured Dubai International Airport retained the mantle of world's busiest for international passenger numbers. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Having clocked up 29.1 million in passenger traffic in 2021, Dubai International (DXB) is the world’s busiest airport in terms of international passenger numbers for an eighth consecutive year.

Dubai Airports, citing current forecasts, said that traffic through DXB could reach 55.1 million by the end of this year. It could even exceed that figure by a "significant margin" if current trends continue.

DXB’s 2021 traffic exceeded estimates for the year by more than half a million passengers, on the back of a strong last quarter, the airport operator said in a statement.

29.1m


passenger traffic at Dubai International Airport DXB in 2021

"Despite unprecedented turmoil affecting millions of people all over the world, we overcame many serious obstacles to the operation of the world’s largest international hub and provided smooth, comfortable and safe travel for millions of people travelling through DXB," said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.

With the eagerly-anticipated reopening of key markets such as Australasia and the further easing of travel regulations around the world, the outlook for 2022 is very promising and we are in an excellent position to continue to lead the world’s air travel sector on the road to recovery.

- Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports

"This incredible performance by all of our staff and stakeholders was achieved in the face of abruptly changing travel regulations and concerns about new waves of infection. With the eagerly-anticipated reopening of key markets such as Australasia and the further easing of travel regulations around the world, the outlook for 2022 is very promising and we are in an excellent position to continue to lead the world’s air travel sector on the road to recovery."

Emerging from pandemic impact
The number of flight movements at DXB reached 77,671 during the fourth quarter, and bringing the annual flight movements to 233,375 for a year-on-year growth of 28.1%.

The average number of passengers per flight reached 154, down 18.9% year-on-year.

Path to recovery

DXB welcomed 29,110,609 passengers in 2021, a year-on-year growth of 12.7 per cent. The numbers were propelled by robust growth in the final three months of the year, during which DXB recorded more than 11 million passengers, 77 per cent more than in the previous quarter.

It was the busiest quarter since the first quarter of 2020, and the first time since the start of the pandemic that DXB’s quarterly traffic surpassed the 10 million mark. December was the busiest month of the year with 4.5 million passengers.

Pandemic hit 2020
In 2020, passenger numbers at Dubai International had dropped 70 per cent to 25.9 million.

Top destinations

India retained its position as the top destination country for DXB by passenger volume, with passenger traffic for 2021 totalling 4.2 million, followed by Pakistan with 1.8 million, Saudi Arabia with 1.5 million, and the UK with 1.2 million passengers. Other destination countries of note include the US (1.1 million passengers), Egypt (1 million) and Turkey (945,000 passengers).