“If we end the year with positive growth, we will be very pleased,” said Griffiths on 10 May. “I am reasonably confident we will.”

Dubai International Airport reported a 9 per cent increase in passengers to 37.4 million in 2008 from 34.3 million in 2007.

Griffiths said figures for the first quarter of 2009 showed year-on-year growth of 2.3 per cent. “The figures for April are quite encouraging as well,” said Griffiths.

Griffiths said the airport’s third concourse, which will be largely dedicated to Airbus’ A380 aircraft, will open in 2012.

Griffiths said work on Concourse 3 was proceeding. “Construction will be completed by the end of 2011.”

The local Alec won the Concourse 3 contract in April 2009 following the termination of the original contract awarded at the end of 2008 to a consortium consisting of the local Al-Habtoor, Murray & Roberts of South Africa and Takenaka of Japan.