(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Other countries to drop PCR testing requirements in coming weeks, says Dubai Airports CEO Dubai International Airport reported a 12.7% increase in annual passenger traffic to 29 .1 million in 2021. – Photo courtesy of Waheed Abbas
Posted: Tue 22 Feb 2022, 18:55
Last updated: Tue Feb 22 2022, 22:40
Other countries will drop Covid-19 PCR testing rules and make way for vaccination certificates in the coming weeks, improving the outlook for the aviation sector, said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.
Griffiths’ comments came on Tuesday after Dubai International Airport (DXB) reported a 12.7% increase in annual passenger traffic to 29.1 million in 2021 with India retaining its airport position world’s busiest international venue for the eighth consecutive year.
A number of countries have relaxed Covid-19 rules and some of them have also dropped PCR test requirements for vaccinated travellers, including Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Croatia, France , UK, Switzerland and others.
In a major announcement on Tuesday, airlines in the United Arab Emirates have also eased restrictions for travelers from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, no longer requiring them to take a Covid test before departure to the airport which, according to travel industry executives, will significantly boost the travel sector in the UAE.
“I expect worldwide the testing regime for travel will start to fade fairly quickly and hopefully there will be an announcement over the next few weeks from many different places. The whole idea of having to take tests to travel will give way to vaccination certificates,” Griffiths said.
The International Air Transport Association (Iata) has also consistently called for the removal of all barriers to travel, including quarantine and PCR testing for those fully vaccinated with approved vaccines.
more than 55 million passengers in 2022
While the outlook for the future looks particularly good, Griffiths said Al Maktoum International Airport will reopen for scheduled commercial passenger flights in May for the first time since the pandemic began.
“With the much-anticipated reopening of key markets such as Australasia and the further relaxation of travel regulations around the world, the outlook for 2022 is very promising and we are in an excellent position to continue to lead the global transport sector. airline on the road to recovery,” said the head of Dubai Airport.
However, Griffiths added that passenger traffic at Dubai International Airport will not return to pre-Covid levels until 2024 despite better prospects for this year.
Current forecasts indicate that traffic via DXB could reach 55.1 million by the end of 2022, but Griffiths acknowledges that if current trends continue, this figure could be exceeded significantly.
India and Pakistan are the main destinations
Griffiths added that despite unprecedented unrest affecting millions of people around the world, DXB overcame many serious obstacles and provided smooth, comfortable and safe travel for millions of people last year.
“Despite these serious challenges to our continued success, we managed to exceed our own forecasts and retain our crown as the busiest international airport in the world.”
According to Dubai Airports, the 2021 figures were propelled by robust growth in the last three months of the year in which DXB recorded 11.79 million passengers, 77% more than the previous quarter. It was the busiest quarter since the first quarter of 2020, and the first time since the start of the pandemic that DXB’s quarterly traffic exceeded the 10 million mark. December was the busiest month of the year with 4.5 million passengers.
India remained DXB’s top destination by passenger volume, accounting for 4.2 million of the total, followed by Pakistan (1.8 million), Saudi Arabia (1.5 million), the United United (1.2 million), United States (1.1 million), Egypt (1m) and Turkey (945,000).
While the main destination cities were Istanbul (916,000 passengers), Cairo (905,000), London (814,000) and New Delhi (791,000).
DXB is connected to 198 destinations in 93 countries via 84 international carriers, significantly more than in 2019 before the pandemic. The number of air movements reached 77,671 during the fourth quarter, bringing the annual number of air movements to 233,375, a year-on-year growth of 28.1%.
(With contributions from Reuters, AFP)
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