Dubai Airports has once again increased its annual forecast for passenger traffic at Dubai International (DXB) to 64.3 million passengers.

DXB started the second half of this year with average monthly traffic exceeding the 6 million mark throughout the third quarter.

The airport recorded 18.5 million passengers in Q3, the first time that quarterly traffic reached pre-pandemic levels since 2020. DXB had recorded 17.8 million passengers in the first quarter of 2020, just prior to the when the pandemic-induced lockdowns began globally.

Passenger volumes at DXB recorded a triple digit increase in the third quarter of this year to reach 18,455,938, propelling the year-to-date September traffic to 46,340,826 passengers – a year-on-year increase of 167.6 per cent. The year-to-date traffic volume represents 72 per cent of DXB’s pre-pandemic passenger traffic during the same period in 2019.

“The growth in passenger traffic has been terrific throughout the year and continues to exceed our expectations by a margin. While we are thrilled with the numbers, what really gives us immense satisfaction is how the airport community is working together like a well-oiled machine to keep raising the bar on service quality,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.

Flight movements in Q3 increased to 98,577 at DXB, thereby resulting in the overall number of flight movements recorded between January and September at 274,911 – up 159.5 per cent year-on year.

India was DXB’s top country destination in terms of traffic volume, recording 6.8 million passengers in the first nine months of the year, according to a statement by Dubai Airports.

Saudi Arabia was ranked second with 3.4 million passengers followed by the UK (3.2 million) and Pakistan (2.7 million). Other country markets of note were the US and Australia with 2.2 million and 1.1 million in passenger traffic respectively. The top three cities by traffic were London (2 million), Riyadh (1.5 million) and Mumbai (1.3 million).

On the cargo front however, as a result of the moving of all major freight operators from DXB back to Dubai World Central (DWC) in March, DXB recorded 397,676 tonnes of freight in the Q3, bringing the total volume for the first nine months of 2022 to 1,307,691 tonnes – a year-on-year drop of 23.3 per cent.