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Top 10 Middle East cargo hubs

Making the top 10 of the region's key hubs in 2008 is no mean feat.
SPECIAL REPORTS, Top 10...
A view of the business lounge at Beirut International Airport.
A view of the business lounge at Beirut International Airport.
Royal Jordanian's cargo hub at Queen Alia International Airport.
Royal Jordanian's cargo hub at Queen Alia International Airport.
An Air Arabia passenger jet at Kuwait International Airport. Courtesy of AFP/Getty.
An Air Arabia passenger jet at Kuwait International Airport. Courtesy of AFP/Getty.
An architect's impression of the rebuilt King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.
An architect's impression of the rebuilt King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.
An overview of the city of Riyadh.
An overview of the city of Riyadh.
Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Abu Dhabi International Airport.
A view of the passenger terminal at Sharjah International Airport.
A view of the passenger terminal at Sharjah International Airport.
A night shot of Bahrain International Airport.
A night shot of Bahrain International Airport.
Qatar Airways' hub at Doha International Airport.
Qatar Airways' hub at Doha International Airport.

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Making it on to the top 10 list of the Middle East’s biggest cargo hubs in 2008 is no mean feat.

A number of highly recognised and well-established facilities did not find themselves on the list this year for various reasons, but the data provided by GACA and Airports Council International showed some pretty close calls, particularly towards the bottom end of the table.

An honourable mention goes to Fujairah International Airport, which saw tonnage increase by 17.2% in the 12-month period up to December 2008 – the region’s best improvement.

There is much to suggest that there will be some big changes in 2009. 

10. Beirut International Airport

Edging out Dammam’s giant King Fahd International Airport is Beirut’s biggest facility, which saw a 7.4% increase in throughput in 2008.

9. Queen Alia International Airport

 The developments at Queen Alia International Airport – Jordan’s biggest – include the implementation of IT platform Cargospot and Royal Jordanian’s completion of the second phase of its cargo terminal upgrade.



8. Kuwait International Airport

Despite falling freight figures in the first couple of months of 2009, Kuwait International Airport experienced a robust 2008, with tonnage increasing by 2.3% in a tough operating environment.

7. King Abdulaziz International Airport - Jeddah

Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport is in the process of being developed into a world-beating new facility, as designed by ADPI.

The company is now developing a two million square metre area at the site, including a 30-million-capacity passenger terminal and an intermodal hub that will include a connection to the high-speed railway network.

6. King Khalid International Airport - Riyadh

At 225 square kilometres, King Khalid is one of the biggest airports in the world. A new terminus for the North-South Railway project will soon be constructed near the facility, which is set to add to its multi-modal logistics offerings.

5. Abu Dhabi International Airport

Abu Dhabi’s biggest airport saw 12.5% growth last year, an impressive level of growth considering the economic crisis in the latter part of 2008.

The gains have been largely due to the efforts of the team at Etihad Crystal Cargo; last year saw the carrier pick up the Supply Chain and Transport Award for best airline cargo subsidiary. 

4. Sharjah International Airport

Sharjah saw a whopping 16.2% increase in tonnage last year, and its importance on the international freight stage is becoming ever more impressive.

Some of Asia-Pacific’s largest cargo carriers are focusing even more heavily on the facility.



3: Bahrain International Airport

Yet another regional airport that is investing heavily in infrastructure, Bahrain’s cargo numbers have been slightly overshadowed by passenger success.

In the 12-month period ending in 2008, freight figures were down by 2.4% but a new air cargo/logistics facility, which is scheduled to come online at some point next year, should aid throughput.

Bahrain also has a long-standing association with DHL Express, which has its regional hub there.

2. Doha International Airport: Despite being second on the LogisticsMiddleEast.com list, a lot more is yet to come when New Doha International Airport comes online in 2012, three years later than its planned launch date.

The facility – the new home for Qatar Airways – will be able to handle 1.3 million tonnes of cargo a year.

1. Dubai International Airport: Furnished with some of the best facilities in the world, Dubai International has bucked the trend of dropping global cargo figures in the last couple of months.

Forwarders shipping goods through Dubai can take advantage of Dubai Cargo Village, which includes Emirates SkyCargo’s impressive new Cargo Mega Terminal, Dubai Flower Centre and the Dubai Airport Free Zone.

All in all, this is an airport that has been fully designed to meet the demands of the cargo community – and Al Maktoum International Airport is yet to come…

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