OPN DUBAI AIRPORT 211-1581161371056
Emirates airline aircraft at the parking bay of concourse three at Dubai International Airport. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

For everyone who works at Dubai International Airport (DXB), who is part of the management team, or who is part of the many teams of people involved in flying in and out of the destination, a smile of satisfaction for a job very well done is fully in order now. For the sixth year in a row, DXB has emerged the world’s busiest airport when it comes to the sheer number of air passengers who pass through the facility.

During 2019, some 86.4 million people landed at or took off from DXB — that’s a full six million more than the figures for London’s Heathrow Airport, the world’s second-busiest international facility. And when it comes to providing food and beverage services, making sure all of the luggage and baggage make the right flight at the right time, and that there’s the largest range of goods available from the duty free outlets and other retailers at the airport, Dubai was a winner in passenger satisfaction levels.

What’s all the more remarkable is that DXB maintained its passenger numbers and customer satisfaction ratings in 2019 at a time when the airport faced a serious challenge to replace and upgrade its southern runway. That forced a 45-day partial shutdown and limited the airport’s ability to handle its regular number of daily take-offs and landings. But it still came out on top. The fact that 86,396,757 passengers passed through the airport and despite the challenges faced by the runway closure, Dubai still ended up as the world’s busiest international airport last year — it’s a glowing testament to the professionalism of all who work there or are associated with the air travel sector in Dubai. DXB is strategically important to the emirate as a whole, with roughly every one dirham in three in gross domestic product tied to the air travel sector.

In 2019, passenger numbers were sustained, too, despite a difficult global climate and a fall in international trade as well as the challenges airlines faced as a result of the worldwide grounding of Boeing’s 737-800 Max aircraft.

Consistently, however, Dubai maintained its passenger numbers, with 21.9 million travellers passing through DXB in the fourth quarter alone. In global terms, 1.3 per cent of anyone who took to the skies did so with DXB as part of their itinerary in one way or another. On an average, some 7.2 million passengers passed through DXB each month and, remarkably, twice during the year — in the peak summer months of July and August — the airport breached the eight million threshold.