The number of passengers using Abu Dhabi International Airport rose 10 per cent last month to 811,530 compared with 737,870 in the same period last year, according to figures released yesterday by Abu Dhabi Airport Company (ADAC). Cargo handled by the airport last month recovered from a slight decline in December, being up 2 per cent to 24,991 tonnes from 24,505 tonnes in Jan 2008. Aircraft movements were also up by 2.8 per cent to 8,049, from 7,826. The figures follow ADAC's report last month of a 30 per cent increase in passenger traffic recorded last year compared with 2007. A record 9.02 million passengers used the airport last year, up from 6.9 million in 2007. "We have said all along that, even during buoyant market conditions, growth rates such as we have seen [30 per cent plus] over the last two years were not sustainable indefinitely, but we are pleased that, in light of the added challenge of the global economic slowdown, we remain an airport of choice and have continued to realise double-digit growth," said Khalifa al Mazrouei, the chairman and managing director at ADAC. The top five city destinations from Abu Dhabi last month were Doha, London, Cairo, Bangkok and Bahrain. These destinations accounted for 16.9 per cent of all traffic through the airport. Since the beginning of last year, seven international airlines have started operations out of Abu Dhabi's airport, while others are increasing their flights into the emirate. From March, Singapore Airlines will operate a daily flight to Abu Dhabi from Singapore, up from three times a week. The emirate has set a target of 2.7 million tourists a year by 2012, up from about one million visitors last year. To support the growth, a Dh1.1 billion (US$299 million) Terminal 3 has been built and is expected to be fully operational within the next month. The facility will be used nearly exclusively by Etihad, which has seen passenger traffic growth of about 30 per cent a year for the past two years. firstname.lastname@example.org
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