Dubai International airport handled just under four million passengers in May, which is a year-on-year increase of 8.8 per cent.

The total traffic to the airport this year to date is 20.5 million, which is an 8.6 per cent rise compared to the same period last year.

Aircraft movements at the airport in May stood at 26,969, a 4.6 per cent increase from the 25,790 recorded in May last year.

Russia and the CIS benefited from low-cost carrier Flydubai’s expansion, with traffic increasing 20.6 per cent on the back of flights to Moscow, Kiev, Yekaterinburg and Samara. Traffic volumes to North America grew 17.7 per cent after Dubai-headquartered Emirates airline doubled the number of its flights to that region.

In terms of cargo, Dubai International handled 187,905 tonnes in May, a 0.5 per cent decline from the year before. So far this year, the airport has handled 874,584 tonnes of air freight.

“Passenger volumes are on course to top 51 million by year-end which should put us hot on the trail of Hong Kong International as the world’s third busiest airport for international passenger traffic,” says Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports.

“By 2015, we expect to overtake London Heathrow for the number one spot when passenger numbers surpass 75 million.”

Dubai International is expected to handle more than 50 million passengers in 2011. The airport recorded 47.2 million in 2010 (MEED 2:2:11).