The air journey industry is “not quite out of the woods” — but the future might be brighter than the final 20 months, says Paul Griffiths, the chief govt of Dubai Airports.

“We have room for optimism that the future, hopefully, is much brighter than the last 20 months,” he advised CNBC’s Dan Murphy on Sunday at the Dubai Air Show, the first major international air show since the Covid pandemic began.

The metropolis’s airports have seen 20.7 million passengers this yr, a “far cry” from pre-pandemic ranges, which can solely be achieved in 2025, he stated.

But there are signs of restoration as the world relaxes restrictions and main worldwide site visitors flows begin up once more, he stated. Traffic numbers at Dubai International grew 40% in the final six weeks, he added.

Dubai Airports owns and manages Dubai International and Dubai World Central Airports in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai International alone served 86.four million clients in 2019.

Passenger forecasts

By the finish of this yr, Griffiths expects Dubai Airports to see 26.7 million passengers. That determine may bounce to 56 million or 57 million in 2022, he stated.

The CEO stated he is cautiously optimistic that passenger numbers might be even higher.

Emirates Airlines airplanes at Dubai International Airport on February 1, 2021.

Karim Sahib | AFP | Getty Images

If airways and airports reply with a top quality product, and good worth for cash, folks are so determined to get again in the air once more, they are going to reply.

Paul Griffiths

Dubai Airports, CEO

Griffiths added that many individuals doubtless would not have the confidence to journey as a result of of strict rules, costly Covid testing protocols and the concern of guidelines altering shortly.

“The last thing you want to do is embark on a journey and then get stuck somewhere having to quarantine,” he stated, although he acknowledged that that is much less of a threat now.

The financial state of affairs — whether or not folks have the disposable earnings to go on journeys the method they used to — is one other issue that may have an effect on the restoration of the aviation sector, he stated, but added that he is “fairly confident” about the demand.

“If airlines and airports respond with a quality product, and good value for money, people are so desperate to get back in the air again, they will respond,” he stated. “We’re starting to see the green shoots of that already.”

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