DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: Officials at Dubai International Airport are hoping for a "flood" of travelers as the coronavirus pandemic lessens worldwide.
Officials have expressed their hope that traffic at Dubai International Airport will increase 8 percent to 28 million passengers this year as demand increases.
In anticipation of increased traffic, following a 15 month closure during its renovation, Terminal 1 is reopening this Thursday.
"People think it will trickle back. I don't believe that. I believe it will be an absolute flood of demand when people get the confidence to travel again," Dubai Airports Chief Executive Paul Griffiths said on Sunday, as quoted by Reuters.
Dubai International Airport is one of the world's busiest. It is possible it could handle over 40 million passengers this year if it was "really, really lucky," Griffiths said, though 24.7 million to 34.3 million might be more realistic.
"We're comfortable with that mid-range of about 28 (million)."
Griffiths also said that the Terminal 1 reopening would create 3,500 additional jobs at the airport, including jobs in retail, hospitality, security and immigration.
Of note, 90 percent of the 260 destinations served from Dubai airport before the pandemic could be restored, Griffiths said, from the current 63 percent.
However, due to surges in Covid in parts of the world, Dubai has announced some restrictions on passengers flying from India, South Africa and Nigeria.
Recently released data indicates that the airport handled 5.75 million passengers in the first quarter, a 67.8 percent decrease compared to the same quarter in 2020.
Due to the worldwide pandemic, passenger traffic at Dubai International Airport dropped 70 percent to 25.9 million in 2020 from 86.4 million in 2019.
Dubai's second airport, Al Maktoum International, remains closed to commercial passenger flights.