Dubai Airports chief, Griffiths predicts Covid testing could end soon

  • ‘Traffic showing real signs of recovery

 

Covid-19 testing at airports around the world should end in the near future, Dubai Airports’ chief executive said on Tuesday.

Passengers travelling through most airports around the world have had to undergo a Covid test of some type since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Paul Griffiths said it was time for regulators to allow for more freedom of travel and to adopt a “normalisation” approach to the virus.

He said that once the “testing regime becomes history, which I think it will do shortly”, air travel will thrive once again.

“What we believe will happen is there will be a strong recovery and we need governments to stop interfering with the common-sense health regulations that are now emerging in the wake of the response to the latest strains of the virus,” Griffiths said, in an interview on CNN’s Middle East programme.

“We’ve got to get to live with it and we’ve got to be able to travel as part of that normalisation of the approach to the virus in the future. That’s when people will get their lives back and that’s when they will become mobile again.”

John Holland-Kaye, London Heathrow’s chief executive, made a similar statement recently, calling on regulators to focus on measures that will improve service, ease financial stress and rebuild demand — including the removal of all testing requirements.

 

Dubai Airport

“The aviation industry will only fully recover when these are all lifted and there is no risk that they will be re-imposed at short notice, a situation which is likely to be years away,” Holland-Kaye said.

Last week, airline industry body IATA said it was now time for Britain to remove testing requirements entirely for vaccinated people.

“It’s clear that the extra measures had little or no impact on the spread of this new variant,” said Iata Director-General Willie Walsh.

Dubai traffic continues recovery

Dubai International Airport in December retained its position as the world’s busiest for international passengers.

Griffiths said traffic at Dubai airport is starting to show real signs of recovery, with visitors to Dubai through the airport — on a point-to-point basis — above pre-Covid levels.

“The good thing is we never really shut anything down. We put things into hibernation, but we maintained a full state of readiness in order to be able to springboard back into the real world when traffic starts to recover, and we’ve seen that” he said.

“We’ve seen 40 percent growth over a six-week period just before the Christmas peak and we’re now at about 111 percent of pre-Covid levels, in terms of arriving and departing passengers from Dubai.”

Wole Shadare