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world’s busiest airport DXB welcomes over 29.1m passengers in 2021

Global pandemic failed to hit the flurry of activity at the Dubai International Airport (DXB).


Did you know that the airport has retained its tag of the “world’s busiest airport by international passenger numbers” for the eighth consecutive year? The DXB recorded 29.1 million in annual traffic in 2021. That’s incredible against the backdrop of a crisis.

What’s more the traffic went beyond the forecasts for the year by more than half a million passengers. The last quarter was very strong. The traffic through DXB could reach 55.1m by the end of 2022, but “if current trends continue”, that figure could be exceeded by a significant margin.


Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, said 2021 was an eventful year which, despite the uncertainties of the pandemic, contained many milestones. Dubai took many bold steps for global air travel recovery. It hosted the Dubai Airshow 2021, the world’s first major airshow since the start of the pandemic. DXB also returned to 100 per cent operational capacity as Terminal 1-Concourse D and Concourse A reopened. The airport also opened the world’s largest in-house airport lab for fast-track processing Covid-19 PCR test samples for Dubai’s visitors. So many achievements!

Many new airlines connected Dubai to new destinations.


“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,” added Griffiths.

“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.”
The traffic through DXB could reach 55.1m by the end of 2022, forecasts show, but Griffiths acknowledges that if current trends continue, that figure could be exceeded by a significant margin.

DXB welcomed 29,110,609 passengers in 2021, a year-on-year growth of 12.7 per cent. There was substantial growth in the final three months of the year during which DXB recorded 11,794,046 passengers, 77 per cent more than in the previous quarter.

It was reportedly the busiest quarter since Q1 2020, and the first time since the start of the pandemic that DXB’s quarterly traffic surpassed the 10 million mark. With 4.5 million passengers, it was December which was the busiest month of the year.

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