Dubai International’s first-ever traffic dip fails to oust it from world top-spot

Published: 6 February 2020 - 5 a.m.

Dubai International Airport (DXB) retained its place as the world’s busiest airport for the sixth consecutive year, despite posting its first-ever annual fall in traffic last year.

DXB processed 86,396,757 passengers last year, just over a 3% fall compared to 2018.

Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, said the blip in traffic was down to the temporary runway closure and refurbishment in April 2019, the ongoing grounding of the Boeing 737 Max and the collapse of nearby Jet Airways.

He said: “While customer numbers in 2019 were lower than the preceding year, the impact of the 45-day closure of the runway, the bankruptcy of Jet Airways, as well as the grounding of the Boeing’s 737 Max accounted for an estimated 3.2 million passengers over the course of the year, and indicate underlying growth at DXB.”

Wait times at the airport fell 15%, while 73 million bags passed through the airport’s 175km long baggage system, with a record delivery success rate of 99.96%.

India retained its position as the top destination country for DXB by passenger numbers, with traffic for 2019 reaching 11.9 million, followed by Saudi Arabia with 6.3 million, and the UK finishing a close third with 6.2 million.

DXB handled 659,167 tonnes of cargo in the fourth quarter (-7%) with the annual airfreight volume reaching 2,514,918 tonnes (-4.8%) during 2019.

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