1 of 10
10.Muscat International Airport
\nCargo volume H1,2012: 59415 tonnes
\nMuscat enters the top ten after rapid growth in throughput in the first half of 2012. The airport handled 59 415 tonnes of cargo between January and June, a year on year increase of 22.8%.
\nOman Air is currently the sole cargo handling agent at Muscat International Airport, but a new cargo facility with a capacity to handle 260,000 tonnes a year and will offer more investment opportunities, is planned. Officials have also revealed that the new expansion projects, the largest ever to be undertaken in Oman and designed to increase capacity to an initial 12 million passengers per annum, are on target to reach its completion in 2013.
2 of 10
9.Dubai World Central
\nCargo volume H1,2012: 106333 tonnes
\nNot content with having the top airport on this list, Dubai now has two in the top ten. Although passenger operations are yet to start at Dubai World Central, its freight operations are taking off. Cargo throughput grew 226% year on year in the first half, reaching 106 333 tonnes and taking DWC to ninth on this list.
\nAccording to a statement, growth is being driven by large non-commercial contracts, as well as new charter and scheduled services introduced during 2011. By the end of June 2012, 35 carriers were operating at the airport, and Saudi Airlines Cargo has introduced a thrice-weekly flight from Riyadh.
3 of 10
8.King Abdulaziz International
\nCargo volume H1,2012: 136448 tonnes
\nThe second Saudi Arabian airport in this list has seen cargo throughput increase rapidly this year. King Abdulaziz International Airport handled 136, 448 tonnes of cargo between January and June, a year on year growth of 10.2%. Saudi Arabian Airlines Cargo is the airport’s main cargo airline.
\nThe Jeddah-located King Abdulaziz International airport is the busiest in the country in terms of passenger numbers, serving as a gateway to the Islamic holy cities of Makkah and Medinah, and as such, current expansion plans are focused on passenger, as opposed to cargo, facilities.
4 of 10
7.Cairo International Airport
\nCargo volume H1,2012: 143344 tonnes
\nAnother airport bouncing back after challenges in 2011 is Cairo International.
\nCargo throughput reached 143 344 tonnes in the first half, a year on year growth of 9.4%.
\nExisting facilities at the airport include the Egypt Air cargo terminal, also known as ‘Cargo Village’ and a perishables terminal operated under a BOT agreement by Egypt Air and the Horticultural Export Improvement Association.
\nA plan to expand the existing cargo facilities into a broader ‘Cairo Cargo City’ has also been drawn up. Since the Arab Spring, new opportunities have opened up.
5 of 10
6.King Khalid International
\nCargo volume H1,2012: 156873 tonnes
\nKing Khalid International Airport achieves sixth place in these rankings after posting rapid growth in the first half.
\nIt handled 156, 873 tonnes of cargo between January and June, with a year on year growth of 27.3%.
\nSaudi Arabian Airlines Cargo is the airport’s main cargo airline, with Cargolux, Martinair and Turkish Airlines Cargo also using the airport.
\nThe King Khalid International has the capability to handle further rapid growth in air cargo traffic as it still possesses a new terminal, which has never been utilised since its construction.
6 of 10
\nCargo volume H1,2012: 166747 tonnes
\nSharjah has fallen down in rank in recent years, but still manages to achieve fifth place on this list.
\nIt handled 166, 747 tonnes of cargo in the first half of 2012, a nominal year on year increase of 0.9%.
\nThe airport has five cargo terminals, with a total floor area of 32,000 square metres, and is capable of handling up to 16 aircraft of different types. Cargo terminal 2 is operated exclusively by Lufthansa Cargo.
\nMeanwhile low cost carrier, Air Arabia, who are based at the airport, has also announced new routes to Kosovo and Russia in recent months.
7 of 10
4.Bahrain International Airport
\nCargo volume H1,2012: 169219 tonnes
\nBahrain International is recovering from the fall in cargo traffic experienced last year amidst political unrest on the island. Throughput grew 6.4% year on year in the first half of 2012, and the airport is on track to exceed calendar year 2010’s cargo figure of 329,938 tonnes. The airport is well equipped to handle the uptick in traffic.
\nThe development of Bahrain Cargo Oasis increases capacity to one million tonnes of cargo per annum.
\nHowever, with Bahrain Air forced to cut down on its routes in the past few weeks, it remains to be seen how cargo volumes will be affected.
8 of 10
3.Abu Dhabi International Airport
\nCargo volume H1,2012: 271221 tonnes
\nCargo throughput has grown rapidly at Abu Dhabi International, driven by the success of Etihad’s cargo operation. The airline carried 175,000 tonnes of cargo in the first six months of 2012, year on year growth of 21%.
\nAccording to Abu Dhabi Cargo Company, the current facilities at AUH offer 36,000 square metres of storage and include one of the UAE’s largest container x-ray units and a fully-equipped perishable centre. Those facilities are, however, rapidly approaching capacity. As a result, ADCC is currently managing the development of the new East Midfield Cargo Terminal, a fully-automated cargo facility.
9 of 10
2.Doha International Airport
\nCargo volume H1,2012: 424589 tonnes
\nThe region’s second busiest cargo airport in the first half of 2012 was Doha. It handled 424,589 tonnes of cargo, a year on year growth of 9.6%.
\nCargo operations are set to begin soon, possibly before the end of 2012, at the New Doha International Airport. The airport will open in phases and be fully operational around 2015.
\nAccording to reports, the airport will have the capacity to handle two million tonnes of cargo annually. Around 22 km² has been set aside for the new airport and 60 million m³ of earth has been reclaimed from the sea to create the airport site.
10 of 10
1.Dubai International Airport
\nCargo volume H1,2012: 1098701 tonnes
\nDubai International handled 1 098 701 tonnes of loaded and unloaded freight and mail in the first half of 2012. Although that represents no change from last year’s figure, it was the sixth busiest cargo airport in the Arab region and the sixth worldwide during the period.
\nA recent announcement shows that the airline is planning for continued growth.
\nIn the coming months, construction is set to begin on a 300,000m2 addition to Dubai International’s 1.2 million tonne Cargo Mega Terminal (CMT). The airport’s original cargo facilities, Hall A and Freight Gate 1, will undergo complete refurbishment.
\nA new trans-shipment facility is also under construction on the site of the former Airport Expo. This facility will primarily handle cargo transferred between Dubai International and Dubai World Central.
\nTogether, the new projects will increase Dubai International Airport’s cargo capacity to 3.1 million tonnes per annum by 2018.