Dubai International airport (DXB) has retained the title of the world’s busiest airport in terms of international passenger numbers for the eighth consecutive year.

The airport saw 29.1 million passengers in 2021, a year-on-year growth of 12.7 per cent, which exceeded forecasts by more than half a million passengers in spite of the global pandemic.

The airport said that this was due to a “strong last quarter”, with the final three months of the year seeing 11.7 million passengers, 77 per cent more than in the previous quarter – this marked the busiest quarter since Q1 of 2020. December was the busiest month of the year with 4.5 million passengers.

Current forecasts indicate that traffic through the airport could reach 55.1 million by the end of 2022, though CEO of Dubai Airports Paul Griffiths believes that the figure could be exceeded “by a significant margin” if current trends continue.

Griffiths commented:

“Despite unprecedented turmoil affecting millions of people all over the world, we overcame many serious obstacles to the operation of the world’s largest international hub and provided smooth, comfortable and safe travel for millions of people travelling through DXB.

“This incredible performance by all of our staff and stakeholders was achieved in the face of abruptly changing travel regulations and concerns about new waves of infection. Despite these serious challenges to our ongoing success, we managed to exceed our own forecasts and continue to retain our crown as the world’s busiest international airport.

“With the eagerly anticipated reopening of key markets such as Australasia and the further easing of travel regulations around the world, the outlook for 2022 is very promising and we are in an excellent position to continue to  lead the world’s air travel sector on the road to recovery.”

Last year’s milestones include the hosting of the Dubai Airshow 2021, the reopening of Terminal 1 Concourse D and Concourse A, and the opening of one of the world’s largest in-house airport lab for processing Covid-19 RT-PCR tests.

The airport has also been welcoming millions of visitors for the ongoing Expo 2020 Dubai.

India retained its position as the top destination country for Dubai by passenger volume, with passenger traffic for 2021 totalling 4.2 million, followed by Pakistan with 1.8 million, Saudi Arabia with 1.5 million, and the UK with 1.2 million passengers.

The top destination cities were Istanbul (916,000 passengers), Cairo (905,000), London (814,000) and New Delhi (791,000).

DXB is currently connected to 198 destinations across 93 countries, with 84 international carriers.