Dubai Airports has opened Al-Maktoum International Airport to passenger traffic, eight months after launching cargo operations.

Dubai Airports announced that the airport is now open to receive helicopter and passenger aircraft with no more than 60 people on board.

Al Futtaim Services Co will be the airport’s launch operator. The Dubai-based firm in December signed a joint venture deal with European business jet operator DC Aviation to provide services from the airport.

Dubai Airports has forecast that the emirate’s second airport will operate up to 40 movements per day by the end of 2011.

“It was a year in which we celebrated many milestones,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports. “We surpassed our growth projections, ushered in Dubai’s status as a twin-airport city with the opening of Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum International in June and celebrated Dubai International’s 50th anniversary. The growth story continues in 2011 with passenger numbers expected to surge another 11 per cent to 52.2 million.

HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Dubai Airports said, “Dubai has a model, unlike Europe and elsewhere, that recognises aviation’s strategic importance and promotes growth in the sector. It starts with an open skies policy, competitive rates and a tax-free environment that has attracted over 130 airlines to Dubai and extends to strategic investments in top-flight aviation infrastructure that promote high service standards and sustain rapid growth. This combined with our geocentric location, which can effectively connect any two major cities in the world, will drive further expansion and continued benefits to consumers across the globe.”