Dubai International Airport a key contributor to Emirate’s economy - GulfToday

Dubai International Airport a key contributor to Emirate’s economy


Picture used for illustrative purposes.

Dubai International (DXB) made a stellar start to the year by recording its busiest quarter in history, affirming its role as a global aviation hub and a key driver of Dubai’s economy and Middle East’s aviation sector.

In Q1, DXB witnessed a significant surge in passenger numbers, with 23 million guests passing through its terminals, marking an 8.4% increase compared to the same period last year. This growth underscores DXB’s appeal to major markets and its contribution to Dubai’s prominence as an international destination for tourism and trade. Total passenger traffic for the quarter reached 23,052,060 guests, with January recording the highest traffic at 7.9 million guests.

Paul Griffiths, CEO of DXB commented, “The robust growth trajectory at DXB continued in the first quarter of the year, with the hub recording some truly impressive numbers. Thanks in part to the proliferation of cities being added to our network by our home base carriers Emirates and flydubai, in recent months. As Dubai emerges as a global leader for attracting talent, businesses, and tourists from across the globe, our focus remains on sustaining growth momentum and enhancing the overall airport experience for every guest passing through our terminals. With a strong start to Q2 and an optimistic outlook for the rest of the year, we have revised our forecast for the year to 91 million guests, surpassing our previous annual traffic record of 89.1 million in 2018.”

DXB drives Dubai’s economic growth and tourism, with the city registering a 3.3% increase in real gross domestic product (GDP) valued at approximately Dhs 307.9 billion. The airport’s efficient handling of ever-increasing passenger traffic and high cargo volumes supports the Emirate’s diversified economy. DXB serves as the main gateway to Dubai, supporting its growth and international brand. With connections to 256 destinations across 102 countries through 90 international carriers, DXB strengthens Dubai’s position as a global business and logistics hub.

DXB demonstrates readiness to cater to increasing travel demand in the UAE’s key markets worldwide.

India remains DXB’s top destination country, with passenger traffic reaching 3.1 million guests, followed by Saudi Arabia (2m), the UK (1.5m), and Pakistan (1.1m). Other significant contributors include the US (836,000 guests), Russia (725,000), and Germany (728,000). Top cities by passenger numbers include London with 961,000 guests, Riyadh (795,000), and Jeddah (669,000), followed closely by Mumbai with 637K guests.

Q1 saw 109,238 total flight movements, an 8.3% increase year-on-year increase. With load factors reaching 79.1% in the first quarter, the passenger per aircraft movement reached 217, a minor change from 220 per aircraft recorded during the same period in 2023.

DXB efficiently managed 26.8 million bags through its extensive baggage system during the first quarter, showcasing its operational excellence and commitment to seamless travel experiences.

Meanwhile, Saudi Minister of Tourism highlights the role of collaboration between tourism and aviation to drive economic growth.

In a keynote speech at the Future Aviation Forum, H.E. Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism, highlighted the country’s remarkable growth as an emerging global tourism and aviation hub. In the last two years the Kingdom launched 28 new air routes, with 2023 seeing over 27 million international visitors. With aviation stakeholders from around the world joining the event, the Minister emphasized the critical role of air connectivity in advancing tourism and aviation.

Riyadh, 20 May 2024 - His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism, stressed the importance of collaboration between stakeholders from the tourism and aviation sectors to drive economic growth and create seamless travel experiences. Speaking at the Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh, the minister highlighted the Kingdom’s efforts to leverage new air connections to boost inbound tourism and accelerate sector growth.

“Gathering here at the Future Aviation Forum, it is important to emphasize the intersecting relationship between tourism and aviation. Ensuring the strategic expansion and sustainability of air routes is critical for our tourism goals,” said Minister Al-Khateeb during his keynote speech titled “Sky High Tourism - Unlocking Destinations and Cultural Exchange Now and in the Future.”

In the past two years, Saudi Arabia’s air connectivity network expanded greatly, with Saudi Airports adding 28 new routes from international destinations. In the first four months of 2024 alone, airlines from key markets in Europe and East Asia have initiated direct flights to the Kingdom. These airlines include China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Air China, ITA Airways, and Eurowings. With visitors from 66 countries now benefiting from the Saudi eVisa, the Kingdom’s tourism market has been on an upward trajectory in recent years.

Recognized as the second fastest-growing tourism market globally in 2023, Saudi Arabia welcomed 107 million tourists, with 27.4 million of these being international arrivals. Tourism currently represents 4% of GDP in the Kingdom- with a target of 10% GDP contribution by 2030. Aiming to attract 150 million tourists by that year - of which 70 million will be international arrivals - global airlines and tour operators will play a key role in this development.

Minister Al-Khateeb added, “This growth is a testament to Saudi Arabia’s appeal to international partners as an emerging global tourism and aviation hub. Strengthening our route network requires expanding the international footprint of Saudi carriers and attracting foreign airlines to our Airports. As such, we are strategically pursuing new partnerships.”

Through the National Aviation Strategy, Saudi Arabia aims to invest $100 billion in its aviation infrastructure to turn the Kingdom into a major global player, creating many new opportunities for investors and airline partnerships. Alongside upgrading the capacity of its main Airports in Riyadh and Jeddah, the Kingdom’s aviation and tourism authorities are facilitating the arrival of several new airlines to Saudi Airports.



Related articles