Dubai airport fully operational for first time since pandemic

AFP , Monday 20 Dec 2021

Dubai airport, one of the world's busiest travel hubs, is fully operational for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic erupted in March 2020, officials said Monday.

Dubai International Airport
Emirates planes parked at the tarmac at Dubai International Airport. AFP

Dubai airport, one of the world's busiest travel hubs, is fully operational for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic erupted in March 2020, officials said Monday.

The opening of sections closed as the Covid-19 crisis took hold comes as the United Arab Emirates records a rise of infections amid fears of the new Omicron variant.

"Following the opening of the final phase, (the) airport is 100 percent operational with all terminals, concourses, lounges, restaurants, and retail outlets now open," said a statement carried by the UAE's official WAM news agency.

Travel via Dubai increases at the end the year, with foreigners -- who make up the majority of the emirate's population  heading home for the holidays, while visitors come to celebrate the New Year.

Last year, Dubai International Airport reported a 70 percent drop in traffic, from more than 86 million travellers in 2019 to 25.9 million in 2020.

In the first half of this year, 10.6 million people passed through the airport, a 41 percent drop from pre-pandemic figures.

Tourism is an economic mainstay of Dubai, which welcomed 16.7 million visitors in 2019.

The UAE  made up of seven emirates including Dubai  has pushed a comprehensive vaccination campaign for its nearly 10 million population.

But coronavirus infection numbers are again on the rise, with the UAE recording 285 cases on Sunday, compared to just 92 last week.

Dubai is counting on the six-month Expo 2020 trade fair to boost the economy, with more than seven million visits since it opened on October 1.

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