Passenger traffic at Dubai International airport is expected to rise 11 per cent in 2011 following a 15 per cent increase in 2010.

In 2011, passenger numbers are forecast to reach 52.2 million. Passenger numbers stood at 47.2 million in 2010, which represented a 9.2 per cent increase on 2009 passenger numbers.

In terms of cargo, volumes rose 17.7 per cent reaching 2.3 million tonnes in 2010 following a surge in air freight volumes during the first three quarters of the year as the global economy recovered.

“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,” says Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports.

Dubai is scheduled to open Al-Maktoum International that will have a passenger capacity of 160 million people a year when fully operational. The predicted rise in passenger traffic does not take into account the opening of the new airport.

Dubai Airports expects cargo traffic to rise 48 per cent by 2015 due to improving economic conditions.

Dubai is well-positioned to become a regional travel and trade hub with passenger operations due to start at Al-Maktoum International airport in Dubai World Central in March. The new airport was officially opened in July (MEED 1:7:10).