Passenger traffic at Dubai International Airport rose 22.6 per cent in February last month compared to the same period the year before.

The airport handled 3.64 million passengers in February compared to 2.97 million passengers in February 2009, with the highest passenger growth recorded on routes to the Middle East, Western Europe and India due to a number of airlines increasing capacity to these regions.

Passenger traffic was about 3.8 million people in January, which brings the total number of passengers travelling through Dubai airport to 7.5 million so far for 2009, a 19.7 per cent increase on the same period in 2009.

Dubai Airports Cargo and Logistics handled 171,707 tonnes of freight in February, which represents a 26.7 per cent increase over the same month in 2009.

The increase in cargo was due to a rise in shippers’ confidence and the re-stocking of inventories worldwide. The growth in freight volumes is also supported by increasing economic activity, especially in Asia.

With Dubai-based airline Emirates due to open a number of new routes in 2010 and the summer travel season nearing, Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports, predicts the growth in passenger numbers and cargo volume to continue.

Emirates increased the frequency of flights from Dubai to Amman, Damascus, Doha, Kuwait and Sanaa in 2009 and will start operating flights to Tokyo, Amsterdam, Prague, Madrid and Dakar in 2010 (MEED 5:1:10).