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Dubai airport sees 11 pct rise in passengers in 2011

Airport draws 47 mln passengers in 2010; Traffic up 15.3 pct in 2010 vs 2009; Dubai Airports CEO sees 11 pct increase in 2011

January 26, 2011 3:51 by

Passenger traffic at Dubai International Airport rose 15 percent in 2010 as the global economy picked up, and is poised to expand 11 percent this year, Dubai Airports said on Wednesday.

Analysts say Dubai could eventually become the world’s busiest international airport. The Gulf emirate is due to open the world’s largest airport this year with an expected passenger capacity of up to 160 million people a year when fully operational.

Cargo traffic rose 17.7 percent to 2.3 million tonnes in 2010 following a surge in air freight volumes during the first three quarters as the global economy recovered and companies cleared inventories globally, the airport said.

Passenger numbers totalling 47.2 million last year beat the airport’s initial projection of 46.1 million and growth accelerated from a 9.2 percent increase in 2009. Passenger numbers should reach 52.2 million in 2011, up 11 percent on 2010, Dubai Airports said.

“As a result, we have plans to boost capacity on the ground and in the air to ensure we can accommodate the growth while improving service across the airport,” Paul Griffiths, Chief Executive of Dubai Airports, said in a statement.

The 2011 forecast does not include traffic at the new Al Maktoum airport, which was due to open in March but has been delayed by a few months. In December, passenger numbers rose to 4.2 million from 3.8 million a year earlier.

State-owned Dubai Airports said last year that it expects cargo traffic to rise by 48 percent by 2015, partly due to improving economic conditions.

Dubai Airports claims Dubai International is the fifth-busiest airport in the world in terms of international passenger traffic volumes, and the fourth in international cargo volumes. (Reporting by Martina Fuchs; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Susan Fenton)

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