Dubai International (DXB) ended the first quarter of the year on a relatively positive note, registering a gradual but steady recovery in both customer numbers and cargo volumes.

By the end of Q1 2021, DXB served 63 per cent of the destinations in 89 per cent of the countries on 74 per cent of the airlines compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Boosted by passenger numbers breaching the two-million-mark in March, DXB’s passenger volumes for the first quarter this year reached 5.75 million. This translates to a contraction of 67.8 per cent compared to Q1 of 2020, which was largely unaffected by the pandemic related suspension of operations by airlines and airports worldwide towards the end of March.

Cargo, which has shown more resilience compared to the passenger segment throughout the pandemic, continued its strong recovery despite the reduction in belly-hold capacity. DXB handled a total of 550,811 tonnes of airfreight during the first three months of 2021, a year on year increase of 3.2%.

Total flight movements during the first quarter totalled 50,176, down 38.3 per cent from last year reflecting the impact of the pandemic on airline operations.

India, which is traditionally a strong market for the UAE, retained its position as DXB’s top destination country with traffic for Q1 reaching 1.38 million – propelled by top city destinations New Delhi and Mumbai.

“Whilst passenger numbers for the first quarter remained significantly below the monthly volumes we handled before March 2020, in the context of the current global situation they are very encouraging and reflect the consolidation phase in our business recovery,” said  Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths.

“Despite the ongoing challenges to air travel as the world continues to battle against the impact of the global pandemic, as an important hub, DXB will continue to play its role of enabling mobility and connectivity and contribute to the much needed social and economic recovery globally.”