UAE. Dubai International (DXB) retained its position as the world’s leading airport for international passengers for the sixth consecutive year in 2019, despite a -3.1% decline in traffic year-on-year. Passenger numbers reached 86,396,757, and were affected by the 45-day closure of the airport’s southern runway to enable its refurbishment, global market conditions as well as the grounding of Boeing 737 Max aircraft across the world.

The total still placed DXB ahead of number two airport London Heathrow, which handled 6 million fewer passengers.

Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths comments on 2019 performance in this video

India remained the top destination country for DXB by passenger numbers, with traffic for 2019 reaching 11.9 million, followed by Saudi Arabia with 6.3 million and the UK with 6.2 million. Other destination countries of note include China (3.6 million) and the US (3.2 million). The top three cities were London (3.6 million customers), Mumbai (2.3 million) and Riyadh (2.2 million).

During the fourth quarter, DXB welcomed 21.9 million customers (+1.3%), taking the average monthly passenger numbers at the hub to 7.2 million for the year. The airport also breached the 8-million customer mark twice during the year (July and August).

Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths said: “While customer numbers in 2019 were lower than the preceding year, the impact of the 45-day closure of the runway, the bankruptcy of Jet Airways, as well as the grounding of the Boeing’s 737 Max accounted for an estimated 3.2 million passengers over the course of the year, and indicate underlying growth at DXB.”

Griffiths said the year exceptional for the airport in terms of customer service with shorter wait times, record-breaking baggage performance and new retail and food & beverage offerings – summarised in the video on this page.

The 45-day runway closure and other external factors had a big impact on traffic performance in 2019

Click here for The Moodie Davitt Pax Index, a regularly-updated feed featuring the latest passenger traffic results from airports around the world