Ramadan travel helped the airport continue its inexorable rise towards the top among the world's busiest airports.

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Dubai maintained its steady climb towards the summit of the world’s busiest airports last month as passenger traffic climbed 23.8 per cent compared to a year earlier to a record 6 million people, helped by travel during the holy month of Ramadan, officials said yesterday.

In the first eight months of this year, traffic grew 16.4 per cent to 43.97 million people.

In March, Dubai International leapfrogged Paris Charles de Gaulle to become the world's second busiest for global travellers after London's Heathrow, which it is expected to overtake by 2015.

Dubai Airports said the strong growth in August was the fastest in three years. In July, passenger numbers were up 6.1 per cent to 5.3 million people compared with the same month last year.

On Monday, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) said that strong passenger demand for aviation hubs that connect long-haul flights would boost earnings for Middle East airlines this year to US$1.6 billion and to $2.1bn in 2014. It also expects regional carriers to expand their capacity by 11.3 per cent collectively this year. Worldwide, revenues from carrying passengers are expected to reach $565bn this year, an increase of $68bn on last year.

Cargo volume through Dubai airport fell 3.1 per cent from a year earlier in August to 184,877 tonnes, but rose 8.1 per cent to 1.59 million tonnes in the first eight months. Iata said on Monday that globally, cargo revenues were expected to reach $59bn this year, a decline of $8bn on 2012.

"The signs are good for the remainder of the year, the highlight of which will be the launch of passenger operations at Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central. We have signed MoUs with two airlines and are in discussion with a number of other carriers to start services at the new airport," said Paul Griffiths, the chief executive of Dubai Airports.

* With Reuters