Dubai reclaims top spot in October as world’s busiest international airport, OAG says

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Dubai International Airport grabs the title from Amsterdam Schiphol as capacity returns to the Middle East hub

Dubai reclaimed the top spot as the world’s busiest international airport in October, snatching the title from Amsterdam’s Schiphol this month, as capacity returns amid an ongoing recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report by aviation consultancy OAG.

The monthly rankings are calculated using airlines’ international seat capacity and international flight frequency in October, compared to the same month in 2019 prior to the pandemic.

“Amsterdam Schiphol’s position as the World’s busiest international airport was short-lived as Dubai (DXB) reclaims the top spot this month as capacity through the Middle East hub returns in earnest,” OAG said in the report.

Amsterdam moved into second place and Europe’s other big hubs are also catching up, with Frankfurt moving into third place and London Heathrow into fourth, OAG said.

Dubai International Airport is home to Emirates airline, the world’s biggest long-haul carrier, that has already restored 90 per cent of its network and is on track to reach 70 per cent of its pre-pandemic capacity by the end of 2021. The emirate is also hosting the six-month-long Expo 2020 world fair, which officially began in October. The UAE is also set to see a boost in passenger traffic following the re-opening of key source markets such as India and the UK with travel restrictions.

The re-opening of economies around the world, the gradual relaxation of pandemic-induced travel curbs and rapid vaccination programmes are leading to a rebound in air travel demand.

Four Middle East hubs made it into the top 10 ranking of the world’s busiest international airports including Dubai in the top spot with 2.7 million seats, followed by Istanbul in fifth place, Doha in seventh position and Antalya in ninth spot, according to OAG.

European hubs dominated the top 10 list including Paris Charles de Gaulle in sixth place, Madrid’s Adolfo Suarez-Barajas in eighth and Vienna 10th.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson retained its dominance in the top 10 busiest global airports list, which includes both domestic and international capacity, in October. Chicago O’Hare kept its second-place spot.

“Half of the top 10 global airports, by seat capacity, are located in the US,” OAG said. “Reflective of the strong growth in the Chinese domestic market this month, there are now three Chinese airports in the top 10 with Istanbul and Delhi making up the final two.”

The busiest international airline route globally in October operates between Antalya in Turkey and Moscow Sheremetyevo in Russia, which was the third busiest in September, according to OAG data.

October also saw strong recovery taking place on some key Middle East routes, the consultancy said.

Four of the top 10 busiest international airline routes start or end in Dubai, connecting Riyadh, London Heathrow, Bahrain and Jeddah with the UAE.

In Africa, the busiest international routes by region are operated between Cairo and Jeddah, Cairo and Dubai, and Cairo and Riyadh.

Dubai reclaims top spot in October as world’s busiest international airport, OAG says (

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