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DUBAI: Dubai International Airport (DXB), the world’s busiest international hub, registered a 31.7% increase in passenger traffic last year to 86.9 million, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, operator Dubai Airports said on Monday.

That compares with 86.4 million passengers flying through the airport in 2019, before COVID-19 grounded the global aviation industry.

Air fares will rise as sector aims for sustainability: Dubai Airports CEO

Dubai, the biggest tourism and trade hub in the Middle East, was quick to reopen after the pandemic.

That, along with an influx of Russians and business professionals as well as relaxed social and visa rules, helped fuel an economic recovery that has also seen property prices and rents balloon.

India was DXB’s top destination country in terms of traffic with 11.9 million passengers last year, followed by Saudi Arabia with 6.7 million, Britain with 5.9 million and Pakistan with 4.2 million.

Dubai likely to join the ‘100 million passenger club’ in 2024: report

Dubai Airports said it forecast DXB would receive 88.8 million passengers in 2024, putting the hub within close proximity to its record high of 89.1 million set in 2018.

DXB is connected to 262 destinations across 104 countries through 102 international carriers, the statement said.

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