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ME airlines recovering fast: IATA

altJuly 1 - International air-passenger traffic is back above pre-recession levels and Middle Eastern carriers continue to post strong growth, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.

Global scheduled traffic statistics for May show an 11.7 percent increase in passenger traffic and a 34.3 percent jump in freight demand compared to May 2009.

Middle East carriers, which are still outperforming the global average level, recorded a 17.5 percent increase in demand during May, compared to 2009.

"The region's carriers continue to post strong growth with connecting traffic through their hubs, although the pace of growth has dropped when compared to the 20 percent increases recorded earlier in the year," the association said.

In May, Dubai International airport recorded eleventh consecutive month of double-digit passenger growth and also predicted strong traffic in June and September. This week, the aviation hub of the Middle East -- Dubai -- joined an elite group of two-airport cities when Dubai Airports officially opened Dubai World Central - Al Maktoum International for cargo operations.

Al Maktoum International, Dubai's second international air hub, is designed to be the world's largest airport when it is fully completed. It will have five runways, four terminal buildings and capacity for 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo.

Carriers in the Middle East are continuing with expansion plans. Emirates recently ordered for 32 more A380 planes.

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