Nearly 86.4 million passengers traveled through the hub in 2019
For the sixth year in a row, Dubai International airport (DXB) managed to retain its position as the world’s busiest for international traffic. In 2019, the airport welcomed nearly 86.4 million passengers, beating its closest rival — London Heathrow — by six million.
However, the figure was 3.1 percent lower than in 2018 as the operation was affected by a series of challenges. For instance, Dubai faced a 45-day closure of its southern runway or the global grounding of Boeing 737 Max aircraft.
Balancing the outages, the airport experienced passenger numbers boost during the fourth quarter of the year. More than 21.9 million customers traveled through the hub during the period taking the average monthly passenger numbers at the hub to 7.2 million for the year.
Besides, the airport managed to improve conditions for customers. Waiting time reportedly dropped by 15 percent thanks to an advanced operations center. Fifty systems are in place across the facility to enhance efficiency and service. The airport has also implemented new smart gates that help speed customers through passport control.
“While customer numbers in 2019 were lower than the preceding year, the impact of the 45-day closure of the runway, the bankruptcy of Jet Airways, as well as the grounding of the Boeing’s 737 Max accounted for an estimated 3.2 million passengers over the course of the year, and indicate underlying growth at DXB,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.
DXB’s top destination country is India
With more than 11.9 million travelers choosing it as their target destination, India managed to retain its position as Dubai International’s top country. Saudi Arabia ranked second with 6.3 million customers, and the United Kingdom third with 6.2 million travelers.
Other destination countries of note include China (3.6 million customers) and the U.S. (3.2 million). The top three cities were London (3.6 million customers), Mumbai (2.3 million customers), and Riyadh, with 2.2 million customers.
The airport also handled 73.1 million bags that passed through the 75 km long baggage system during 2019.