Abu Dhabi International Airport posted double-digit growth in passenger and cargo traffic last month, in what officials said was a sign of the emirate's return to pre-crisis rates of rapid expansion. Passenger traffic grew 11.2 per cent at the airport last month compared with January 2008, while cargo activity rose 25.6 per cent, the Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) announced yesterday.
"Having withstood the global challenges of the world economy and the aviation industry in 2009, by demonstrating 7.3 per cent growth the results of the first month of 2010 show that demand for air travel to and from Abu Dhabi is returning to double-digit growth figures," said Ahmad al Haddabi, the senior vice president of airports operations at ADAC. The growth was driven by conferences and exhibitions, such as the recent World Future Energy Summit, as well as Etihad Airways's expanding network and flight frequencies, ADAC officials said. The increase in cargo came from the large volume of aid sent to Haiti.
London remained the airport's busiest destination for the latest month, as it was last year, followed by Bangkok and Doha. Manila and Bahrain came in fourth and fifth, respectively. One of the world's fastest-growing airports, Abu Dhabi International is undergoing a multibillion-dirham redevelopment and expansion designed to increase its capacity to more than 20 million passengers a year. As part of this redevelopment, a second runway and third terminal have been completed.
ADAC's announcement comes a day after Dubai's airports operator said Dubai International Airport had posted a 17 per cent rise in passenger traffic last month, compared with January 2008, and its cargo activity had increased by 31.5 per cent. Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports bucked global trends last year by recording passenger growth in an industry hit by the H1N1 swine flu virus and the global economic downturn. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org