Egypt's Suez Canal earned $3.458 billion in the first eight months of 2011, an 11.7 percent increase from $3.095 billion a year earlier, the head of the Suez Canal Authority said on Saturday. The official MENA news agency quoted Ahmed Fadel as saying 11,721 ships passed through during the 2011 period with cargoes of 612.1 million tonnes, compared with 11,864 ships and 549.9 million tonnes, for an 11.3 percent increase. Along with tourism and remittances from workers abroad, the canal is one of Egypt's key revenue earners. Tourism has sharply declined since a revolt overthrew president Hosni Mubarak in February. The canal has earned $73.3 billion dollars since president Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised it in 1956, the agency quoted Fadel as saying.