Dubai Airports: Solid Q3 will result in stronger year-end passenger numbers


A strong showing in Q3 2022 has led Dubai Airports, the operator of Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC), to reassess its previous annual passenger forecast. 

DXB, where Emirates Airlines is based, has so far managed to steadily welcome more than 6 million passengers per month in H2 2022.  

Dubai’s main airport saw more than 18.5 million travelers cross its gates in Q3 2022, reaching pre-pandemic levels for the first time since COVID-19. 

Comparatively, the same airport welcomed 17.8 million passengers in Q1 2020, just before the pandemic fully kicked in across the globe.  

Year-To-Date (YTD) passengers at the airport reached 46.3 million by the end of September 2022, a Year-on-Year (YoY) increase of 167.6%. Still, the YTD numbers are only 72% of levels seen prior to COVID-19.  

“The growth in passenger traffic has been terrific throughout the year and continues to exceed our expectations by a margin,” Paul Griffiths, the Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Airport, commented on the developments.  

The remaining month and a half of 2022 is expected to bring even more passengers to the two Dubaian airports, after the FIFA World Cup kicked off in Qatar on November 20, 2022.  

DWC, primarily a cargo hub, registered anywhere between 30 and 40 flights, sometimes lower, from the end of October to November 19, 2022. However, once the World Cup kicked off, the number of scheduled flights at the airport reached a spike of 80 on November 21, 2022, the second day of the tournament.  

According to an announcement dated November 15, 2022, World Cup-related flights “are expected to increase the passenger demand at DWC three-fold over the coming weeks.”  

“A spike in demand of this magnitude would pose a challenge for any airport, but we have had some recent practice,” Griffiths noted at the time.  

Dubai Airports’ previous forecast expected 62.4 million passengers to travel from and to the two airports by the end of the year.  


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