MIDDLE EAST Supplement~ Sharjah continues to grow

The largest air cargo hub in the United Arab Emirates has a happy problem. Unprecedented cargo demand at Sharjah International Airport is stretchingcapacity to the maximum. With nearly 40,000 tonnes of cargo per month being handled at Sharjah’s fi ve cargo terminals the 15-20 per cent growth in annual cargo volumes along with surging passenger […]


The largest air cargo hub in the United Arab Emirates has a happy problem. Unprecedented cargo demand at Sharjah International Airport is stretchingcapacity to the maximum.

With nearly 40,000 tonnes of cargo per month being handled at Sharjah’s fi ve cargo terminals the 15-20 per cent growth in annual cargo volumes along with surging passenger traffi c is taxing the airport’s capacity. Despite the fact the airport’s cargo facility can handled up to 10 wide-bodied freighters can park simultaneously at Sharjah, spaceis clearly at a premium.

“Right now we’re using capacity to the maximum in terms of warehouse space, bays dedicated to cargo and airline offi ce space,” said Donald De Souza, business development manager at the Sharjah Airport Authority.

The capacity crunch is due to a number of factors he said, including the buoyant regional economic situation, upsurge of traffi c to Iraq and Afghanistan as a result of rebuilding in those locations, and the growth of the passenger segment – up 36 per cent last year over a year earlier, in part due to the success of home-grown low-costcarrier Air Arabia.

“Because of this we are faced with the challenge of more demand than capacity,” said Mr De Souza who added the airport is working closely with the airlines to make better use of the existing capacity.