By Andy Sambidge
Senior official says airport needs capacity to handle 8-9m more people by 2017
Abu Dhabi International Airport expects to see 12 million passengers in 2011, representing double digit growth on the previous year.
Operator Abu Dhabi Airports Company is forecasting an 11 percent rise in passengers this year from 2020's total of 10.8 million.
Haytham Haidar, ADAC's chief development officer told the MEED Abu Dhabi Conference: "This is increasing pressure on the terminal capacity at the airport.
"We need to have capacity to handle 8-9 million more passengers in the present facilities by 2017 when the new midfield terminal complex opens."
Haider also said that the opening of the new air traffic control tower in April this year means that the airport's air-side capacity is already sufficient.
"From an air-side perspective, we already have the capacity to handle 70 million passengers a year," Haider said.
Bids from six consortia for the contract to build the new midfield terminal complex in the Emirate were received on November 13.
The award of the contract is expected in the first quarter of 2012.
The project is scheduled for completion in 2017 and its design capacity is 27.5 million passengers.
Abu Dhabi International Airport is one of the fastest growing airports in the world, with growth rates of nearly 20 percent over the last five years.
Growth over the next 20 years is forecast to be robust, and additional facilities are required to accommodate the traffic demand.