The number of passengers using [Lebanon's] Rafik Hariri International Airport  increased 5 percent in 2012, said the Directorate of Civil Aviation Wednesday, adding that growth came despite a sharp decline in transit flights.
The number of passengers using the airport climbed to just under 6 million , compared to 5.654 million in 2011, according to the directorate.
Incoming passengers increased 2.84 percent in 2012, hitting 2.895 million, as outbound passengers increased 8.53 percent to reach more than 3 million.
Passengers on transit flights decreased sharply in 2012 by nearly 19 percent to 47,189.
Total flights fell 11.58 percent in 2012, the report said, adding that the highest decline had been in transit flights, which fell by 36 percent.
Inbound flights increased by 2.97 percent, with outbound flights up by 2.92 percent.
Private jet flights plunged sharply in 2012, posting a decline of almost 27 percent. Cargo increased by nearly 14 percent as airmail declined 8.35 percent.
Lebanon’s flagship carrier Middle East Airlines signed Wednesday a final agreement with leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus to acquire 10 planes for $1 billion.
The agreement came in spite of concerns by its chairman who said political instability  could take a larger chunk of the carrier’s profits in 2013.