Airfreight volumes contract 23.2% during 2020
Dubai International (DXB) made positive strides towards recovery after a challenging year with a total of 25.9 million customers travelling through the airport in 2020, a decrease of 70% compared to 2019.
Meanwhile, the annual airfreight volume reaching 1,932,022 tonnes (-23.2%) during 2020 with 571,718 tonnes of cargo handled in the fourth quarter (-13.3%).
The airports official annual traffic figures showed a positive second half of the year, after a difficult second quarter, with December exceeding industry expectations at 2.19 million customers.
The closing data showed a noted recovery in many areas, especially the return to services in global markets thanks to the strength in operations of Emirates and flydubai, and the confidence shown by international airlines coming back into the region.
Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports commented: “In the past year we have witnessed the most difficult circumstances the travel industry has ever faced. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt not only in our sector, but across the entire world.
"These DXB passenger traffic figures are reflective of that testing environment, but also come with an element of hope and confidence.
"An integral part of recovery for the travel and tourism industry is rebuilding the confidence of travellers, and one way to do this is through a vaccination programme, similar to what is currently being carried out by the UAE government.
"This, along with technology that will allow for seamless and contactless travel, will once encourage more people to get on a plane."
From a markets and destination perspective, the recovery is strong.
There are now 142 destinations (61% recovery) served from DXB in 80 markets (85% recovery) on 56 airlines (75% recovery). There was some growth through the government alliances being made in the latter part of the year, allowing flights to and from Israel.
India retained its position as the top destination country for DXB by passenger numbers, with traffic for 2020 reaching 4.3 million, followed by the United Kingdom with 1.89 million customers and Pakistan coming in third with 1.86 million customers.
Other destination countries of note include Saudi Arabia with 1.45 million customers in 2020.
The top three cities were London (1.15 million customers), Mumbai (772,000 customers) and New Delhi with 722,000 customers.
While 2020 was a year of uncertainty, one key positive was the strength found in partnerships. Airline partners Emirates and flydubai both played a pivotal role in the recovery efforts, along with dnata and all the official entities that make up the aviation community in Dubai.
In addition, the Dubai Health Authority’s ability to react quickly to the ever-changing environment and needs of the Emirate saw COVID-19 PCR test facilities being set up in DXB for arriving customers, making the movement of tourists and returning residents more efficient.