Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the closure of Terminal one at Dubai International Airport for the previous fifteen months, Dubai Airports, the airport’s operator, remains optimistic that demand will bounce back rather than trickle back as the terminal prepares to be reopened this Thursday.
Paul Griffiths, Dubai Airports CEO commented to Reuters news agency that: “People think it will trickle back. I don’t believe that. I believe it will be an absolute flood of demand when people get the confidence to travel again.” Dubai International Airport is one of the world’s busiest airports and could well see over 40 million passengers this year if it was “really, really lucky,” Griffiths said, though it was more likely to be between 24.7 million and 34.3 million.
“We’re comfortable with that mid-range of about 28 [million],” Griffiths added. He also anticipates that with the airport likely to be serving 90% of its 260 global destinations by the fall, as opposed to today’s 63%, the reopening of Terminal 1 could see the creation of 3,500 jobs. However, there will still be certain restrictions applicable to passengers flying from South Africa, Nigeria, and India.
In the first quarter of 2021, the airport handled 5.75 million passengers, which equated to a 67.8%t drop on numbers compared to the same period in 2020, while in 2020 the airport dealt with 25.9 million passengers in total, a drop of 70% compared to 86.4 million in 2019. The opening of Terminal 1 will see 66 foreign airlines relocating to Terminals 1 and 2, while Emirates will continue to operate from Terminal 3. Al Maktoum International Airport will remain closed for the time being.