March 3, 2021

Social distancing will be ‘ruinous’ for travel industry, Dubai Airports CEO says after passenger numbers tank – CNBC

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Passenger travel through Dubai International Airport, one of the world’s largest travel hubs, dropped by a fifth in the first quarter of the year as lockdowns border closures triggered by the coronavirus pemic dealt a hammer blow to international travel. 

“Dubai Airports today confirmed that Dubai International (DXB) recorded a total of 17.8 million customers during the first quarter of 2020, a year-on-year contraction of 19.8%, a direct result of the COVID-19 pemic which dampened dem reduced flight numbers,” a statement from Dubai Airports, which owns manages Dubai International (DXB) Dubai World Central Airports, revealed Thursday. DXB in 2019 was ranked the world’s largest hub in terms of passenger traffic.

Aircraft movements dropped 18.7% year-on-year — from 95,857 to 77,920 — due to flight suspensions from select coronavirus hotspots beginning in February, followed by the complete halting of passenger flights by the UAE government from March 24, with the exception of emergency repatriation flights. Those exceptional flights, arranged through UAE authorities foreign embassies, allowed more than 50,000 people to return to their home countries, Dubai Airports said.

For Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths, the social-distancing measures mated by health authorities globally are economically catastrophic — but they must be followed until there is a viable antidote for the virus, the timeline for that is nearly impossible to predict.

“I think social distancing as a concept will be quite ruinous for the travel tourism industry, as it will be