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Air travel is increasing as Dubai Airports plans a massive expansion

Dubai Airports

Image credit: Dubai Airports

Dubai predicts air traffic from China will rebound in the fourth quarter, raising the need to boost capacity at the world’s busiest international airport.

The city’s main air hub increased its forecast for this year to 85 million passengers from 83.6 million, after a surge in arrivals pushed numbers to pre-Covid levels, its chief executive officer said.

About 41.6 million passengers traveled through Dubai International Airport (DXB) in the first half of 2023. That was up 49 per cent from a year earlier and exceeded arrivals during the same period in 2019, before the pandemic grounded air lines across the world.

Thanks to the visionary leadership of @HHShkMohd and his relentless focus on excellence, Dubai has achieved yet another milestone.@DXB welcomed 41.6 million passengers in the first half of this year, surpassing 2019 levels during that same period.

(1/2) pic.twitter.com/RRUOvgVLrj

— HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum (@HHAhmedBinSaeed) August 22, 2023

Dubai Airports looks to increase capacity


“We have to accelerate our efforts to improve the capacity of the existing airport in the short term, which will cover us for the next 10 to 15 years,” Paul Griffiths, chief executive officer of Dubai Airports, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Tuesday.

“Then, we have to have a real push to develop the big one,” he said, referring to the city’s second airport, Al Maktoum International (DWC), which is designed to accommodate more passengers once it fully opens.

The company sees a “very strong” rebound in China, he said. The world’s second biggest economy was mostly closed to international travellers until earlier this year, when strict Covid lockdowns were lifted.

Demand for long-haul travel has picked up in the past two years as travel restrictions have ended. Dubai’s flagship airline, Emirates, posted a $3n dollar profit for the year through March, and the city reported a record number of tourist arrivals in the first half. That’s helped push hotel room rates to a fresh high.

The sector’s resilience has also prompted speculation of an initial public offering in Dubai, where the government plans to privatise more state-owned firms.

Airports are a “very attractive proposition” for IPOs, Griffiths said, but added that any decision on a listing would be entirely up to the government.


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