Man on a mission: Abu Dhabi Airports CEO Tony Douglas

  • Share via facebook
  • Tweet this
  • Bookmark and Share

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways is rarely out of the headlines these days as it juggles deals in Europe, Australia and India and launches routes to the four corners of the globe. The UAE flag-carrier earlier this year announced a third consecutive year of profit, with net profit surging 48 percent to $62m in 2013. Passenger numbers rose 12 percent to 11.5 million and even in the first quarter of this year 14 percent more passengers travelled with the carrier, more than double the 5.8 percent global growth rate predicted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for 2014.

As a result, Etihad’s Abu Dhabi airport hub is also thriving, with 15 percent more passengers moving through the facility in the first three months of the year.

The man tasked with keeping up with James Hogan’s Etihad global masterplan and making it a reality on the ground is Tony Douglas, the CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC). “Our forecast going forward with Etihad is the greatest gift you could ever dream of,” Douglas says enthusiastically.

While Etihad looks to bring Abu Dhabi to the world, Douglas is hard at work making sure Abu Dhabi Airports’ $3bn Midfield Terminal Building (MTB) is kept on target and ready to open at 7am on 17 July 2017. In fact the Abu Dhabi carrier’s continued growth means that he constantly has to review his plans to keep pace.

When the MTB was initially conceived, it was designed so that all 44-plus airlines would be able to operate from it, but Douglas says Etihad’s rapid growth means that the current south-side Terminal One and Terminal Three will still be operational when the MTB opens in 2017.

“Etihad has grown by about 30 percent in the last two years in terms of its forecasts and that is 30 percent of a reasonably sized number. At the Dubai Airshow, as well as Emirates and Qatar Airways, it placed the largest civil aviation order in memory.

“I would say therefore that when this incredible terminal opens that it will not be the end of the development and we will have to move very quickly on to the next phase to keep pace with Etihad. All the numbers that we observe, the forecasts for growth, and the evidence from the industry in this region support that,” he adds, reporting that they have already “significantly” increased their capacity plans at MTB to cater to this ongoing, fast-paced growth.

MTB is the jewel in Abu Dhabi Airports’ crown and when complete, at 700,000 sq m, it will be the largest single building in Abu Dhabi and is expected to be able to cater to up to 30 million passengers a year. To put that into perspective, Abu Dhabi International is likely to operate around 18 million passengers this year, based on the 4.5 million carried in the first quarter and which is up significantly on the 5.2 million carried in the same period in 2006.

Article continued on next page...

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
From bigger, faster and windowless planes to escape pods, pilotless cockpits & virtual reality entertainment: The future of aviation

From bigger, faster and windowless planes to escape pods, pilotless cockpits & virtual reality entertainment: The future of aviation

How will passengers’ flight experience be in the future? Advances...

How Gulf banks are helping to underwrite region's aviation boom

How Gulf banks are helping to underwrite region's aviation boom

Figures from Airbus show that 47% of MidEast aircraft deals in...

The inside story of the new Airbus A350 jet

The inside story of the new Airbus A350 jet

Customers, suppliers and industry sources share their insights...

Most Discussed
  • 17
    Nakheel PR: The toughest job in Dubai?

    You forgot to mention the sewage pit between JLT and Jumeirah Park and the terrible landscaping in Jumeirah Park The chain link fencing they want to install... more

    Monday, 30 March 2015 9:05 AM - An Emaar Fan
  • 14
    Dubai Int'l T1 is too congested, says Indian airline boss

    Question: All you people, criticizing my comment, do you work for Air India by any chance?

    Additionally, for all the whiners, I will provide you... more

    Tuesday, 31 March 2015 12:50 PM - Mosa
  • 9
    Post traumatic stress?

    I once had a Emirates Post employee hang up on me when I asked her to repeat something. That said, the worst is my management company, Kingfield Management... more

    Sunday, 29 March 2015 6:07 PM - Sarah