DUBAI (Reuters) – The head of Dubai International Airport, one of the world’s busiest, said on Tuesday he expects more countries to soon start ending rules for vaccinated passengers to be tested for COVID-19.
The United Kingdom does not require vaccinated passengers to take a COVID test, while Gulf state Bahrain this month said those arriving would no longer needed to be tested.
“I do expect across the world, the testing regime for travel will start to disappear pretty quickly and we’re hopeful that there will be an announcement over the next few weeks from many different places,” Chief Executive Paul Griffiths said.
“The whole idea of having to have tests for travel will give way to vaccination certificates.”
Griffiths did not say when Dubai would ease its own testing requirements.
Dubai airport is forecasting passenger traffic to more than double this year to 57 million from 29.1 million in 2021.
That is still far below the 86.4 million passengers the airport handled in 2019, the year before the pandemic struck.
Griffiths said bookings for the next three months were among the strongest the airport had ever seen and the 57 million target for this year could end up proving conservative.
“The outlook for the future now is particularly good.”
Dubai will also reopen its second airport, Al Maktoum International in May to scheduled, commercial passenger flights for the first time since the pandemic began, Griffiths said.
Al Maktoum will handle some passenger flights that typically operate from Dubai International during refurbishment works at the main hub that will close one of its two runways for 45 days.
Airlines that operated out of the second airport before the pandemic will continue to operate flights there after the 45 days, Griffiths said.
(Writing by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Jane Wardell)