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Dubai airport sees faster recovery in passenger demand: CEO

Published: Updated:

Dubai’s state airport operator is optimistic demand for international travel is recovering faster than expected, upwardly revising on Monday its outlook for Dubai airport.

Dubai Airports Chief Executive Paul Griffiths told Reuters that 28 million passengers were now expected to pass through Dubai International this year, up from its most recent forecast of between 26 million and 27 million passengers, and that it was more bullish on 2022.

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“We are looking at the forecast for 2022. It was previously about 56 million. Presumably it’s going to get closer to 60 million once we have redone the numbers,” he said at the Duabi Airshow.

The airport is the world’s busiest for international travel and also the hub of Dubai state-owned airline Emirates.

The operator on Monday said 20.7 million passengers had passed through the airport in the year to October, of which half was in the four months between July and October.

Griffiths said the airport had recovered 80 percent of its origin and destination traffic, though transit traffic was at 20 percent, and that more airlines were flying there than before the pandemic.

The COVID pandemic has wreaked havoc on the airline industry as countries shut borders and enforced lockdowns and curfews.

But Griffiths said he believed governments in countries with high vaccination rates would not return to lockdowns if COVID-19 cases spiked, and instead was worried if he had enough staff.

The airport could see record arrivals into Dubai between now and the end of the year, he said at the Dubai Airshow.

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