In 2012, 947,600 passengers used Erbil’s new International Airport, a 53% increase on the previous year, whilst cargo tonnage also increased dramatically, with a 54% increase to 27,849 tonnes per annum.
The 2012 passenger count brings the total number of passengers departing Erbil International Airport since the new terminal opened in September, 2010, to 1.7 million.
The increase in passenger and cargo numbers will help cement Erbil International Airport as one of the fastest growing in the Middle East and underlines the wisdom of the KRG’s fifth cabinet and its then Prime Minister, Nichevan Barzani’s decision to commission the new airport in 2004.
With an average of 13 flights a day, serving of 2,590 passengers daily , and 17 cargo flights a week, bringing in 550 tonnes of cargo, the airport has once again seen record growth in 2012 and is a solid reflection of what is happening with the economy in Kurdistan and Northern Iraq, with demand for travel growing and the demand for cargo imports growing.
The +53% increase in passenger numbers to 947,600 puts EIA, four years, and 56 % ahead of its own master plan. The independently produced plan had anticipated 608,400 passengers in 2012.
The most popular routes remain Istanbul and Dubai, with Turkish and Atlas leading the way on routes to the north, whilst Iraqi Airways continues to operate the most flights into Erbil with an average of around 95 a month. New routes in 2012 have included Emirates to Dubai, Qatar Airways to Doha, Air Arabia to Sharjah, Mahan Air to Tehran . Flights to and from Erbil now connect to 15 countries and 23 different cities.