Passenger traffic at Dubai airport jumped 14.6 percent in 2000 to 12.3 million, from 10.7 million the previous year, the civil aviation department said.
The number of regular, chartered and military flights topped 141,000 last year, up 6.5 percent on 1999, it said in a statement.
More than 100 airlines were operating almost 400 flights a day by the end of 2000, a figure expected to double after a second phase of the airport's expansion is completed, the department added.
The United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a member, has launched a $1.75-billion expansion to turn its airports into some of the world's busiest, with Dubai alone claiming it could now handle 22 million travelers a year.
The second phase of work at Dubai airport is expected to start in 2003 on a new terminal capable of handling around 64-parked planes at a cost of $600 million. It will be reserved for passengers of the Dubai-owned carrier Emirates.
Airport authorities have forecast the number of passengers using Dubai airport at 19.5 million in 2005 with a leap to 31.3 million in 2010.
To meet the challenge, the airport has a second parallel runway, which can handle wide-bodied planes and is equipped with the latest technology to allow landing in zero visibility.
If growth continues into the second decade, Dubai plans to build a totally new airport near the free zone of Jebel Ali, 50 kilometers (30 miles) out of town. — (AFP, Dubai)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )