Dubai Airports chief says visitors to the emirate surpassing pre-Covid levels
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Dubai Airports chief says visitors to the emirate surpassing pre-Covid levels

Dubai Airports chief says visitors to the emirate surpassing pre-Covid levels

Paul Griffiths also anticipates that Covid testing at airports will end in the near future

Dubai Airport

Dubai Airport is currently experiencing pre-Covid numbers in terms of visitation, CEO of Dubai Airports Paul Griffiths has said.

Speaking to CNN’s Richard Quest, Griffiths said: “I think the pessimism of the uncertainty that we’ve been facing has to give way to the opportunistic, and optimism of recovery that we’re going to follow, and the good thing is, we never really shut anything down. We put things into hibernation, but we maintained a full state of readiness in order to be able to springboard back into the real world when traffic starts to recover.

“And we’ve seen that, we’ve seen 40 per cent growth over a six-week period just before the Christmas peak… On a point-to-point basis, visitors to Dubai through the airport at 111 per cent of what they were pre-Covid.”

Griffiths also anticipates that Covid testing at airports will end soon. “I think the thing is, once the testing regime becomes history, which I think it will do shortly, what we believe is going to happen is there will be a very strong recovery. And we need governments to stop interfering with the common-sense health regulations that are now emerging in the wake of the response to the latest strains of the virus.”

The CEO remained optimistic on the sustainability of visitor figures. “The good thing is you see, having built confidence in Dubai as a destination, the actual multiplier effects of the origin and destination traffic to the economy is hugely valuable, but now what’s happened because of that attractiveness, when the transfer markets come back, we will be in an incredibly strong position to resume our pre-eminence with the sixth freedom as well as this point-to-point market.”

In September last year, Griffiths had forecasted that the number of international visitors may more than double this year as the easing of Covid-19 restrictions boosts travel through one of the world’s busiest hubs.

Read: Dubai Airports sees doubling of visitors in 2022 as curbs ease

Dubai International also reclaimed its position as the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic in October last year, welcoming 20.7 million passengers in the first 10 months of 2021, with the number of flight movements recorded between January and September equaling 155,706.

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