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Dubai passenger numbers suffer under India Lockdown

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DXB Dubai International airport – Image courtesy

Dubai has been recovering well, handling 2 million passengers by March and 5.75 million by the end of Q1 2021, a 68 percent decrease from Q1 2020, which had been relatively unchanged by the pandemic-related suspension at the end of March.

However, on April 24, the UAE halted flights to India due to an outbreak of COVID-19 cases on the subcontinent.

India has historically been a popular destination for UAE airlines, and it would be costly for them. Dubai, whose most famous destination is India, would undoubtedly feel the pinch.

In the first quarter of this year, more than 1.3 million passengers flew from Dubai to India, with top city destinations New Delhi and Mumbai driving traffic. There were 262,035 customers in Delhi alone. As healthcare systems fail to deal with a wave in coronavirus infections, Delhi and Mumbai have been put under lockdown.

The duration of the flight ban is unknown, although it is doubtful that borders would be able to open to Indian travellers before the nation has begun to regain sovereignty.

Dubai will now look to capitalize on its other important opportunities and destinations.

Pakistan was Dubai’s second most successful destination in Q1, with about 450,000 passengers. Bangladesh and Russia came in second and last, respectively. The airport finished the first quarter of the year on a bright note, with both passenger numbers and freight volumes gradually but steadily improving.

In comparison to before the COVID-19 pandemic, Dubai operated 63 percent of destinations in 89 percent of countries on 74 percent of airlines by the end of Q1 2021. Despite the decline in belly-hold volume, cargo, which has become more resilient than the passenger segment since the pandemic, has continued its strong recovery.

In the first three months of 2021, Dubai managed a total of 550,811 tonnes of airfreight, up 3.2 percent year over year. The effect of the pandemic on airline operations resulted in a 38 percent drop in overall flight movements in the first quarter, compared to the same period last year. “While passenger figures for the first quarter remained slightly below the monthly volumes we managed before March 2020, they are very promising in the light of the current global situation and represent the consolidation process in our market recovery,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.

“Despite the current threats to air travel as the world grapples with the effects of the global pandemic, Dubai can continue to play an important role in facilitating mobility and accessibility, as well as contributing to the much-needed global social and economic recovery.”

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