Dubai Airport takes int. pax crown for fifth year in a row

By Luke Barras-hill |


DXB handled 89m passengers in 2018. Source: DXB.

Dubai International Airport (DXB) has cemented its position as the globe’s number one airport for international passenger volumes as total traffic reached 89.1m in 2018.

In total, DXB handled 89,149,387 passengers – a rise of 1% year-on-year.

Despite the uplift, the total appears to fall short of a forecast tipping traffic to reach 90.3m last year, although an airport Spokesperson pointed TRBusiness to an original target of 90m handled by 2020.


A statement points to a ‘banner year’ for the airport’s customer service, with shorter waiting times and new retail and F&B offerings [to view an exclusive interview with Eugene Barry, EVP Commercial, Dubai Airports, click here].

In December, DXB welcomed its billionth passenger and twice broke the 8m pax mark during the year, including in August where it handled 8.4m passengers – the largest haul in its 58-year history.


The airport broke 8m passengers on two different occasions in 2018. Source: DXB.

India remained DXB’s top destination country by pax volume, with 12,279,485 choosing popular routes to Mumbai, Delhi and Cochin.

Saudi Arabia took second spot with 6,471,142 passengers, followed by the UK with 6,284,771.

The fastest-growing markets were Russia at +14.5% to 1,533,654 passengers, and China at +6% to total 3,512,075 passengers.

Broken down by city, London took pole position (3,817,899), followed by Mumbai (2,540,750) and Kuwait (2,194,576).

Retail partner Dubai Duty Free, which accrued $2bn in sales last year, will have benefitted from smoother traffic operations at the airport as it slashed waiting times by 28%, due in part to its advanced operations centre and smart gates.


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