By Andy Sambidge
UPDATE: Maintenance work on runway forces airport chiefs to close for 12 hours on July 22.
Abu Dhabi International Airport will be forced to close for 12 hours for runway maintenance work next week, it was announced on Thursday.
Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), the owner-operator of the airport, said that due to maintenance work needed on its runway, the airport will be closed to all air traffic between 02:15am until 14:15 pm on July 22.
“Having identified an abrasion in the runway, ADAC has taken the decision that a re-asphalting of a small section of the airport’s only airstrip is essential and is to be conducted early next week,” said Massimiliano Dosi, chief operating officer, ADAC.
Due to the time of year and the extremely high summer temperatures being experienced in Abu Dhabi, day and night, this generally routine procedure means it would need longer than usual for the new asphalt to set and be ready for operational use, hence the 12 hour scheduled closure.
Abu Dhabi Airports Company has stated that it has been working closely with the home airline, Etihad Airways, along with all its other airline operators through Abu Dhabi International Airport in order to minimize any inconveniences that may be caused.
ADAC has also advised all passengers scheduled to fly on July 22, to check directly with their airline or travel agent in order to understand if and how this will affect their flight schedules.
Etihad Airways said on Thursday it had cancelled eight flights of its daily total of 95, while a significant number of other flights will have their departure or arrival times either brought forward or delayed to avoid the runway closure period.
The cancelled flights are four roundtrips - EY321 and EY322 Abu Dhabi-Dammam-Abu Dhabi, EY371 and EY372 Abu Dhabi-Bahrain-Abu Dhabi, EY381 and EY382 Abu Dhabi-Muscat-Abu Dhabi and EY393 and EY394 Abu Dhabi-Doha-Abu Dhabi.
Geert Boven, executive vice president sales and services at Etihad, said the carrier was "doing all we can to contact those customers affected by the closure to advise them of any changes to their travel plans".
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