DUBAI – Dubai airport, the world’s busiest for international travel before the coronavirus crisis, could see passenger traffic fall by as much 70% this year, its chief executive said.
A wave of new infections around the world ahead of the typically busy Christmas and year-end travel season has brought further uncertainty to an industry already decimated by the pandemic.
Dubai airport could see passenger traffic fall 55-65% this year to 30-40 million passengers if it continues on its currently trajectory, CEO Paul Griffiths told Reuters.
The airport is handling around a million monthly passengers – more than it had projected – though Griffiths cautioned traffic could fall by as much as 70% this year.
Flights have gradually increased since a United Arab Emirates ban on most passenger services was lifted in June. Dubai state carrier Emirates is flying to around 100 destinations.
Griffiths urged governments to reduce quarantine rules for passengers in favour of what he said were clear and practical policies that could include testing travelers for the virus before departure and on arrival.
“The thing that is obviously a problem at the moment is the requirement for quarantine in certain parts of the world. If you go to the UK at the moment, you’re subject to 14 days quarantine and a lot of people are not able to afford the time,” he said.
The UAE requires those travelling on flights to the country to obtain a negative test result before departing.
In Dubai, most passengers are allowed to enter the emirate freely once they present a negative test result. Passengers travelling from some countries are re-tested on arrival and must quarantine until they receive their results.
Other parts of the country enforce a mandatory 14-day quarantine.