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Dubai Airports Handled Record 51 Million Passengers in 2011

Dubai Airports, home to the biggest Arab airline Emirates, handled a record 51 million passengers last year as the Persian Gulf business hub benefited from tourism amid unrest in some parts of the Middle East.

Dubai Airports plans to invest $7.8 billion to boost its capacity from 60 million passengers a year to 90 million passengers by 2018, the state-run facility said in an e-mailed statement today. The airport expects to complete Concourse 3, a dedicated facility for Airbus A380s, by the end of this year.

The passenger traffic posted a year-on-year increase of 8 percent. In December, 4.69 million travelers passed through the airport compared with 4.26 million a year earlier.

“In a year that was characterized by economic uncertainty, political instability and high oil prices, passenger growth continued unabated driven by new routes and additional frequencies,” said Dubai Airports Chief Executive Officer Paul Griffiths. “That trend will continue in 2012 with our two largest airlines - Emirates and flydubai - set to receive additional aircraft throughout the year.”

Cargo volumes last year fell 1.5 percent to 2.19 million tons, driven by economic uncertainty in Europe and the U.S. that eroded consumer confidence and led to a drop in exports, it said.

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