An attractive view of the Dubai Duty Free at Terminal 1 of the Dubai International Airport.
Dubai’s airport operator is hoping for a “flood” of travellers as the coronavirus pandemic eases, targeting passenger traffic through Dubai International Airport to grow 8% to 28 million this year as demand rebuilds.
“People think it will trickle back. I don’t believe that. I believe it will be an absolute flood of demand when people get the confidence to travel again,” Dubai Airports Chief Executive Paul Griffiths said on Sunday.
The airport, one of the world’s busiest, could see over 40 million passengers this year if it was “really, really lucky,” Griffiths said, though it was likely to be somewhere between 24.7 million and 34.3 million.
“We’re comfortable with that mid-range of about 28 (million).”
Terminal 1 has an annual passenger capacity of 18 million, while the entire airport can handle up to 100 million.
Griffiths estimated the terminal’s reopening would result in 3,500 additional jobs at the airport, including those working in retail, hospitality, security and immigration.
By the autumn, 90% of the 260 destinations served from Dubai airport prior to the pandemic could be restored, Griffiths said, up from 63% today.
Dubai announced on Saturday some restrictions on passengers flying from India, South Africa and Nigeria would ease from Wednesday.
The airport handled 5.75 million passengers in the first quarter, a 67.8% fall compared to the same quarter in 2020 before the pandemic halted traffic.
In 2020, passenger traffic plummeted 70% to 25.9 million from 86.4 million in 2019. The airport is the base of state carriers Emirates and flydubai whose entire operations are international flights.
Over a two-week period starting Thursday, 66 foreign airlines will move from Terminal 2 and 3 to Terminal 1.
Terminal 3, where Emirates operates from, will continue to operate with two of its three concourses for the time being.
Dubai’s second airport, Al Maktoum International, will also remain closed to commercial passenger flights.
Picture shown is for illustrative purposes only.
“Emirates welcomes the latest protocols and measures announced by Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management to allow the safe resumption of passenger travel from South Africa, Nigeria and India to Dubai,” Emirates Airline said in a statement to Gulf Today on Sunday. “We look forward to facilitating travel from these countries and supporting various travelers’ categories. We will resume carrying passengers from South Africa, Nigeria and India in accordance with these protocols from 23rd June. We thank the Supreme Committee for their continuous efforts in monitoring the development of the situation and announcing the appropriate guidelines and protocols to protect the community and safeguard travel sector.”
Aviation giant Emirates will resume flights from India from next week, after Dubai lifted a ban imposed when coronavirus cases spiked.
The United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, suspended all flights from India — including for transit passengers — in April in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“We will resume carrying passengers from South Africa, Nigeria and India... from June 23,” Emirates said in a statement.
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