The number of passengers travelling through Iraq’s Erbil International airport increased by more than 50 per cent in 2012, compared with the previous year. Cargo volumes also saw a similar level of increase.

A total of 947,600 passengers used the airport last year. It also handled 27,849 tonnes of cargo.

The airport expanded its capacity in 2007 with the opening of a new terminal. Since then, the total number of passengers that have departed Erbil International has risen to 1.7 million.

The increase in passenger numbers puts the airport four years ahead of its original masterplan. Initial expectations were that the airport would only hit 608,400 passengers by 2012.

Several regional airlines offer routes to and from the Iraqi Kurdistan-based airport, including carriers Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways and low-cost operators FlyDubai and Air Arabia.