World international and domestic airports handled a record number of 4.4 billion passengers in 2006,a 4.8 percent increase over 2005, the Airports Council International (ACI) said on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, 85.6 million metric tons of cargo were processed by global airports last year, an increase of 3.6 percent from 2005, said the Geneva-based organization, which has more than 1,640 member airports in 178 countries and territories.
"The statistics tell a great story -- growth and stability," said ACI Director General Robert J Aaronson in a statement.
"Three quarters of airports worldwide reported positive passenger growth. The figures are equally positive in broader economic terms, with traffic closely aligned to world GDP growth of just over 5 percent in 2006."
ACI statistics show that worldwide international passenger traffic grew by a brisk 6.8 percent in 2006, with strong markets in the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions. Tourism destinations also drove traffic increases across the African continent.
Domestic passenger traffic also grew in most regions.
"In 2006 each region manifested trends that mirror improved global economic growth," said Aaronson.
"Airports look forward to playing a central role in a competitive environment as pillars of healthy local and regional economies, promoting new business development and stable employment."