Dubai: The Middle East's first monorail will be in operation by April 2009 on the Palm Jumeirah, with live testing starting in October, according to developer Nakheel.

A Nakheel spokesperson said that monorail will carry around 40,000 people every day around the island.

The trains will run every three minutes during peak times and every 15 to 20 minutes at off-peak hours.

The $400 million Palm monorail is the first to be unveiled in the Middle East. Nakheel says it has laid 100 per cent of the 5.45 kilometre track. The cars are undergoing a final inspection in Japan before arriving in Dubai for a joint inspection with RTA and operator SMRTE.

Nakheel signed a technical agreement in December 2006 that will see the Osaka monorail team providing technical advice for staff.

Construction work began in March 2006 and was just completed in July 2008.

The monorail will eventually connect to the Dubai Metro.

Robert Lee, managing director of investment projects, said: "With the full cooperation of our strategic partner RTA, we expect to have the monorail operational and capable of carrying more than 40,000 passengers on Palm Jumeirah each day by April 2009."

The RTA is working closely with the Office of British Rail for the monorail's inspection and certification process.

The monorail, and eventually the Dubai Metro, will reduce traffic congestion in Dubai.