Total passenger traffic at UAE's three largest airports, including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah, is expected to reach 80 million in 2012, according to a new report.
CAPA-Centre for Aviation revealed that the three airports have handled around 59 million passengers during the initial nine months of 2012.
The CAPA report said: "If their current growth rates continue over the last quarter of the year, combined traffic may just reach 80 million."
Over the past five years, the airport traffic in the UAE has increased twice and with the expected commencement of operations of Dubai's Al Maktoum International Airport in the second half of 2013, traffic will double to around 150 million per year by 2020.
According to the report, the two airports in Dubai are expected to add an estimated 20 million passengers in 2013, in addition to the Concourse 3-dedicated terminal for Emirates at Dubai International Airport (DXB).
Over the next ten years, Dubai is expected to add the capacity for an additional 90 million passengers, the CAPA report revealed.
UAE's Abu Dhabi Airport is expecting to increase its capacity for an additional 27-30 million passengers annually by 2017, following the development of the Midfield Terminal Complex, which will have a capacity of about 50 million passengers per year.
Sharjah International Airport reported more than 700,000 passengers when compared to the corresponding period in 2011, following a 3.9% increase in aircraft movements.
The report noted that airspace capacity constraint in the Gulf region is the only barrier to the growth and airspace congestion is said to be "already nearing crisis levels", which needs to be addressed.
Image: Dubai airport is projected to handle about 70 million passengers per year by 2016 and reach 100 million per year by 2025.