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Thu 1 Mar 2012 10:02 AM

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Abu Dhabi Airport rides Etihad growth to chase Dubai

UAE capital aims to boost passenger numbers up to 14 million this year

Abu Dhabi Airport rides Etihad growth to chase Dubai
Abu Dhabi’s main airport boosted passenger numbers 14 percent in 2011 to 12.4 million

Abu Dhabi’s international airport aims to boost
passenger numbers as much as 12 percent to almost 14 million this year as
Etihad Airways adds flights, stretching capacity at a hub that’s already close
to full.

The third-biggest Arab carrier will also occupy a new
terminal that should raise capacity to 40 million passengers from 2017, Abu
Dhabi Airports CEO James Bennett said today in an
interview, with the main construction contract to be awarded early next

Abu Dhabi plans to spend $500 billion on industry,
tourism and culture through 2030 to reduce its reliance on oil. While Etihad is
among the fastest-growing carriers, ordering 100 jets at the 2008 Farnborough
Air Show, the sheikdom’s airport faces a contest for long-haul transfer
travelers with nearby Dubai, which is extending its hub’s capacity to 90
million by 2018.

“I believe there will be adequate demand,” Bennett
said. “We’re serving new markets such as Asia, China and Africa and the flow of
commerce in between. Those are the fastest-growing economies in the world and
this will continue for a while.”

Abu Dhabi’s main airport boosted passenger numbers 14
percent in 2011 to 12.4 million. While the hub derives about 50 percent of its
footfall from people changing planes on inter- continental trips, more are
coming for tourist and business visits after completion of recent developments,
the CEO said.

The company received tenders for construction of the
new 'Midfield' terminal from six groups including Hyundai Engineering &
Construction Co., Larsen & Toubro, Hochtief AG with Al
Habtoor, Bechtel Group and Al Jaber Group, TAV Havalimanlari Holding AS
and Samsung.

Etihad will occupy the building alongside carriers
with which it has partnerships, plus some others, Bennett said, adding that a
“strategic review” is underway into how to utilize vacated facilities including
the existing Terminal 3.

Etihad vies for transfer traffic with Gulf rivals
Emirates, based in Dubai and the world’s largest carrier by international
traffic, and Qatar Airways. All three are seeking to attract long-haul
passengers away from traditional hubs in locations such as London, Paris and

Dubai Airports plans to invest $7.8 billion to
boost airport capacity from 60 million a year at its existing hub - which
attracted 51 million people in 2011, or 85 percent of the limit. The emirate is
also building up a new base, Al Maktoum International, which though currently
limited to freight flights may have a passenger capacity of 160 million in
coming decades.

Abu Dhabi airport’s dedicated cargo building has
“probably already reached capacity” and will be expanded in a new location if
demand continues to increase, Bennett said. Cargo activity was up 10 percent
last year.

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Muzza 8 years ago

Abu Dhabi irport is not "close to full" it is already over capacity and not a very comfortable airport to be in when traveling.
ADAC should act a bit quicker for its customers

sajeeth 8 years ago

I agree with Muzza its long overdue for a Airport which is entry port for UAE.As Abudhabi is the Capital of one of the richest countries in the world the Airport should reflect that status.