By Andy Sambidge
Airport reopens Southern Runway which is now capable of accommodating world's largest superjumbos
Abu Dhabi International Airport on Tuesday re-opened its newly renovated Southern Runway as part of its expansion plans in preparation for the Midfield Terminal Complex (MTC) becoming operational in 2017.
The major milestone was marked with an A380 take-off and landing, and the runway was officially declared operational by Ali Majed Al Mansoori, chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports.
The re-opening of the Southern Runway comes ahead of the scheduled flights of Etihad Airways' Airbus A380 and Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft, which were unveiled last week.
The upgrade included the refurbishment and widening of the Southern Runway, elevating it to Code "F" standard, to be able to accommodate the world's largest superjumbos.
The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of the UAE formally handed over the Southern Runway operational certification to Abu Dhabi Airports on Tuesday.
Together, both runways will reach a total combined capacity in excess of 500,000 aircraft movements annually making Abu Dhabi International Airport one of the largest two-runway operations in the world.
In addition to the Southern Runway renovation, the Southern Airfield Programme included the construction of an airside tunnel running more than 1.2km in length, enabling connectivity between the MTC and the existing Terminals 1 and 3.
An additional 21 wide body aircraft stands were also built along the apron to accommodate increased aircraft movement. The total cost of the Southern Airfield Programme was approximately AED830 million ($226 million).
Once the MTC is complete, the new works will raise capacity to above 45 million passengers per year.
Al Mansoori said: "I am proud to announce the successful delivery of the Southern Runway renovation project, a major milestone in the development of Abu Dhabi International Airport.
"Today's event is important not just for Abu Dhabi Airports but also for Abu Dhabi as a whole, as the emirate continues to stamp its mark on the world as a major transportation hub and an attractive destination for both tourists and businesses."For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.