DXB retains title as first international airport

Photo: WAM

Dubai International, DXB, has retained its position as the world’s busiest airport for international customer numbers for the fifth consecutive year, with annual traffic for 2018 surpassing 89.1 million.

Aside from record traffic numbers, DXB enjoyed a banner year for customer service with shorter wait times and new retail and food and beverage offerings.

The total number of passengers using the airport last year reached 89,149,387, up one percent from 2017, according to a report by Dubai Airports.

The airport was able to exceed 8 million passengers twice over the past year in July, reaching 2.8 million passengers, and 8.4 million passengers in August, making the latter the busiest month in DXB’s 58-year history.

India continued to hold to its position as DXB’s top destination country by passenger numbers, with traffic for the year reaching 12,279,485 – propelled mainly by top city destinations Mumbai, Delhi and Cochin. Saudi Arabia was number two on the list with 6,471,142 customers, followed closely by the United Kingdom with 6,284,771 customers.

Other destination countries of note include the United States with 3,205,524 customers, and the fast-growing markets of China with 3,512,075, up 6 percent, and Russia with 1,533,654 which grew 14.5 percent.

The top three cities were London with 3,817,889 customers, Mumbai 2,540,750, and Kuwait 2,194,576. Eastern Europe was the fastest growing region with double-digit growth of 16.7 percent, followed by Commonwealth of Independent States at 12.9 percent, and Africa growing 9.8 percent.

Flight movements for the year remained almost flat at 408,251 down by 0.3 percent, while the average number of customers per flight grew slightly to 226, up by 1.3 percent annually.

Wait times were reduced by 28 percent in 2018, thanks to DXB’s advanced operations centre which uses real-time information to improve service and efficiency, as well as the smart gates that help speed customers through immigration.

A total of 2,641,383 tonnes of airfreight was handled at DXB down by 0.5 percent during 2018.

In terms of baggage volumes, the baggage system at Dubai airport - the longest of its kind in the world (175 km) - handled 47.9 million bags, an increase of 3.1 percent in 2018, compared to 2017.