Dubai International Airport (DXB) has reported passenger volumes of 18.5 million for the third quarter (Q3) of this year, marking the first time quarterly traffic has reached pre-pandemic levels since 2020.

This figure is a 190.6% increase from Q3 2021, according to DXB operator Dubai Airports.

A total of 46.3 million passengers travelled through the airport in the nine months to September, up by 167.6% from a year ago.

The volume also represents 72% of DXB’s pre-pandemic passenger numbers in the same period of 2019.

India remained the airport’s top country destination by traffic, accounting for 6.8 million passengers in the nine months to September.

This was followed by Saudi Arabia and the UK, which registered passenger volumes of 3.4 million and 3.2 million respectively.

The top three cities in terms of traffic were London with two million passengers, Riyadh with 1.5 million and Mumbai with 1.3 million.

DXB saw 98,577 flight movements in Q3 2022, while flight movements for the first nine months of the year were 274,911, a 159.5% increase from the previous year.

Despite this, air cargo volumes were impacted by the move of all key freight operators from DXB back to Dubai World Central (DWC) in March.

As a result, the airport’s cargo volume in the nine months to September dropped by 23.3% year-on-year to 1.31 million tonnes, including 397,676t in Q3.

In view of its Q3 figures and the projection of stronger growth in the final quarter of the year, Dubai Airports has increased its annual traffic forecast for DXB to 64.3 million.

Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths said: “The growth in passenger traffic has been terrific throughout the year and continues to exceed our expectations by a margin.

“While we are thrilled with the numbers, what really gives us immense satisfaction is how the airport community is working together like a well-oiled machine to keep raising the bar on service quality.”