Dubai International Airport, one of the world’s busiest airports, is fully functioning for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, authorities announced Monday.
The reopening of areas that had been closed due to the COVID-19 situation, the airport is functional at a time when there is an increase in COVID infections in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and fear of Omicron variant.
“Following the opening of the final phase… (the) airport is 100 per cent operational with all terminals, concourses, lounges, restaurants, and retail outlets now open,” stated UAE’s official news agency WAM.
Travel through Dubai surges around the end of the year, with foreigners – who make up the vast majority of the emirate’s population – returning home for the holidays and tourists arriving to celebrate the New Year.
Dubai International Airport recorded a 70% decline in traffic last year, from more than 86 million in 2019 to 25.9 million in 2020.
10.6 million travellers travelled through the airport in the first half of this year, a 41 per cent decrease from pre-pandemic levels. Dubai’s economy is based on tourism, which attracted 16.7 million tourists in 2019.
The UAE, which consists of seven emirates, including Dubai, has begun a systematic immunisation programme for its approximately 10 million residents.
However, the COVID-19 infection rates are once again on the rise, with the UAE registering 285 cases on Sunday, up from 92 the previous week.
With almost seven million visitors since the integration of Dubai Expo 2020 on October 1, Dubai is counting on the six-month expo trade exhibition to improve the economy.