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UAE's Dubai airport close to returning to full operational capacity as demand picks up

Highlights

Dubai Airports revised up its forecast for 2021 to 28.7 mil passengers

Airport handled 25.9 mil passengers last year, down 70% on 2019

Middle East jet fuel demand set to rise 28% in Q4 2021: Platts Analytics

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  • Dania Saadi
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  • Apoorva Gupta
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Dubai International Airport will return to full operational capacity in the coming weeks as the world's busiest hub for international travel in 2019 reopens a purpose-built facility for Airbus A380 due to rising demand, its operator said Nov. 24.

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Concourse A at the airport's Terminal 3 complex, which was closed on March 25, 2020, will help lift demand at the facility, Dubai Airports said in a statement.

"The reopening of the facility follows robust growth in passenger numbers at DXB throughout the year and a consistent surge of demand in the final quarter," Dubai Airports said. "Concourse A will be reopened in phases over the coming weeks, helping DXB to maintain service levels while accommodating the rush of seasonal travelers in December and beyond."

Dubai International Airport has revised up its forecast for 2021 by 2 million passengers to reach 28.7 million by year-end, Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths said in a Nov. 15 statement.

"The world's busiest international airport is expecting this surge towards the recovery of the industry to continue during the final quarter of 2021 as the combined impact of the relaxation of global restrictions on travel, the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai, the forthcoming Dubai Airshow 2021 and the annual rush of travelers," Dubai Airports said Nov. 15.

Dubai International Airport handled a total of 25.9 million passengers in 2020, a 70% drop from a year-ago period.

Jet fuel demand

S&P Global Platts Analytics expects jet fuel demand in the Middle East region to recover by 28% year on year to 340,000 b/d in the fourth quarter, which will still be 29% lower than the fourth quarter of 2019 levels as a full recovery of global aviation is still beyond the horizon.

"This is corroborated by the weekly average flights at the Dubai International airport, which increased approximately 50% year on year in October on the back of Expo 2020, nevertheless still significantly lower than pre-pandemic October 2019 level," Platts Analytics said in a Nov. 11 note.

Dubai International Airport is home to Emirates Airline, the world's biggest carrier for long-haul flights in 2019.

Emirates carried 6.1 million passengers between April 1 and 30 September 2021, up 319% from a year-ago period.