Dubai airports expect annual passenger traffic to exceed pre-pandemic levels

Driven by strong growth during the first three quarters of the year and the anticipation of an exceptional increase in guest numbers in the final quarter, Dubai airports forecasts that annual passenger traffic at Dubai International (DXB) will reach 86.8 million, surpassing 2019 traffic.

DXB entered the second half of 2023 with its growth story continuing unabated, with average monthly traffic reaching 7.6 million, tracking pre-pandemic levels throughout the third quarter. The world’s largest hub recorded 22.9 million passengers in the third quarter, the highest quarterly traffic since 2019, bringing total year-to-date traffic for the first nine months of the year to 64.5 million of passengers, an increase of 39.3% compared to the same period in 2022 and 1% above 2019.

“We are delighted, but not entirely surprised, that DXB is set to surpass the pre-pandemic milestone well ahead of our initial projections by almost a year. Our outlook for the remainder of this year and next remains optimistic. By partnering with our strategic partners, we are ready for the challenge of continuing to exceed guest satisfaction amid continued traffic growth.”

saying Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.

He added:

“Our team embarked on an extraordinary journey, facing new challenges during the recovery period and rapidly revitalizing the business. Instead of settling, we are dedicated to exploring inventive solutions, reimagining traditional concepts, integrating cutting-edge technology and addressing the mammoth challenge of sustainability. Events such as the Dubai Airshow present the ideal platform to recognize achievements and encourage future growth. “This edition is clearly playing a pivotal role in forging the path for the future of the industry.”

Future perspective

Dubai airports expects record numbers to continue in the fourth quarter and into 2024. To accommodate growth and achieve the company’s ambition to revolutionize the guest journey in DXB, Dubai airports is carrying out a strategic project to expand infrastructure capacity while improving operational efficiency. With a current capacity of 100 million passengers per year at DXB, the deployment of innovative technology, the expansion and renewal of existing infrastructure and the more efficient use of its space and resources is expected to boost the airport’s capacity to 120 million.

While Dubai tops the list of top spending cities by international visitors with a total revenue of $29.4 billion, and the Emirate is at the forefront of deploying the latest technologies, Dubai Airports has continued to work closely with its stakeholders to offer guests the experience they expect from Dubai.

Main destinations

With 8.9 million passengers in the first nine months of the year, India was DXB’s top destination country in terms of traffic volume, followed by Saudi Arabia with 4.8 million passengers and the United Kingdom (4.4 million passengers). Other notable destination countries include Pakistan with 3.1 million passengers, the United States (2.7 million) and Russia (1.8 million). The cities with the highest traffic were London (2.7 million passengers) and Riyadh (1.9 million), closely followed by Mumbai (1.8 million) and Jeddah (1.7 million passengers).


DXB’s baggage handling system processed a total of 57.5 million bags in 2023 with a success rate of 99.8% (a rate of 2.5 mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers), which no small feat for the world’s largest international traffic hub. Regarding baggage delivery on arrival, 91% of all luggage was delivered to guests within 45 minutes. The baggage volume in 2023 represents 106.07% of the 2019 baggage volume in DXB.

The average waiting time in queues at passport control was less than 11 minutes for 96.4% of arriving passengers and 95.1% of passengers queued for less than six minutes at passport control exit. The average queue time at the departure security checkpoint was less than four minutes for 98.4% of all passengers.


Cargo continued to gain momentum in the third quarter, registering a year-on-year increase of 12.3%, reaching 446,400 tonnes. This year’s strong performance has helped level out a double-digit contraction in cargo recorded late last year. The center recorded 1.3 million tons of cargo in the first nine months of the year, recording a small drop of less than 1%.


Flight movements in the third quarter increased by 5.1% in the third quarter to reach 106,000. DXB handled a total of 308,000 flight movements between January and September, a year-on-year increase of 25.2%.

News source: Dubai Press Office

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