Dubai airport retains title as world’s number one for international passengers

The airport welcomed over 86.3 million passengers in 2019, down 3.1 per cent compared to 2018

Dubai International (DXB) retained its position as the world’s number one airport for international passengers for the sixth consecutive year with annual traffic for 2019 reaching 86.4 million.

The airport welcomed a total of 86,396,757 passengers in 2019, down 3.1 per cent compared to 2018, a statement said.

Numbers were affected by a “series of challenges throughout the year, including the 45-day closure of the airport’s southern runway to enable its refurbishment, global market conditions, as well as the worldwide grounding of Boeing 737 Max aircraft”, DXB operator Dubai Airports said.

Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports said: “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.”

During the fourth quarter of 2019, DXB welcomed 21.9 million customers, up 1.3 per cent year-on-year, taking the average monthly passenger numbers at the hub to 7.2 million for the year.

India retained its position as the top destination country for DXB by passenger numbers, with traffic for 2019 reaching 11.9 million, followed by Saudi Arabia with 6.3 million, and the United Kingdom with 6.2 million customers.

Other major destination countries included China (3.6 million passengers) and the US (3.2 million).

The top three cities were London (3.6 million passengers), Mumbai (2.3 million) and Riyadh with 2.2 million.

Overall, the airport handled 97,379 flight movements during the fourth quarter, down 4.5 per cent year-on-year, bringing the annual flight movements to 373,261, a decrease of 8.6 per cent compared to 2018.

The average number of passengers per flight increased to 239, up 5.8 per cent annually.

Meanwhile 73.1 million bags passed through the airport’s baggage system during 2019 with a delivery success rate of 99.96 per cent.


DXB handled 659,167 tonnes of cargo in the fourth quarter, down 7 per cent compared to Q4 2018, with the annual airfreight volume posting a reduction of 4.8 per cent in 2019 to reach 2,514,918 tonnes.

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