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 travelled 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 airlines across the world.
“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.