Dubai eyes a 40% fall in air passengers

Photo: AP

Pandemic has a heavy impact on the transport sector of the United Arab Emirates with the busiest Dubai airport signaling of 40 percent drop in air passengers in the first six months of this year. The decline is mainly due to the spread of the new variants of the Covid-19, AP reported. Still the CEO of the airport Paul Griffiths remained optimistic for the development of the east-west transit point as authorities gradually re-open Dubai routes to India and UK.

The 10.6 million passengers that used the airport over the past six months “is still very positive,” Griffiths said. “I think coupled with the restrictions easing that we’re now seeing, it will bode very well for a satisfactory end to the year.”

The airport had 86.4 million people passing through before the pandemic broke out in 2019. It held the title of the world’s busiest since it outpaced London’s Heathrow seven years ago. It even kept the crown as the virus turned the world’s biggest airports into massive voids. The hopes risen by the UAE fast vaccination campaign took a hit as the Delta variant emerged, prompting familiar border closures and capacity cuts. Although the UAE recently lifted an entry ban on India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, which are home to most of the vast foreign workforce in the federation, strict vaccination requirements still bar many from boarding flights to the country. “All of those South Asian markets are incredibly important to Dubai, they’re a very important transit opportunity, of course, as people go to all parts of northern Europe,” said Griffiths. “It’s very important we get those traffic flows back.” He declined to put a number on the financial hit, but said the “loss of traffic to the UK has had a very, very significant impact on the economy of both countries.”

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