Abu Dhabi airport traffic rises 15% as Etihad rapidly expands routes

Passenger traffic reached 4.5 million during the quarter, compared with 3.9 million a year earlier.

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Abu Dhabi Airports reported a 15.1 per cent increase in passenger traffic during the first quarter of this year, helped by Etihad Airways’ rapidly expanding route network.

Passenger traffic reached 4.5 million during the quarter, compared with 3.9 million a year earlier. Cargo activity was also up 15.8 per cent year-on-year to 183,344 tonnes at the three terminals.

“It is clear that businesses and tourists alike increasingly see Abu Dhabi both as a destination of choice and as a logical transit point on longer journeys,” said Ahmad Al Haddabi, the chief operations officer at Abu Dhabi Airports.

“This in turn is further evidence of the airport’s rapidly growing status as a major global transport hub and shows why our capacity-enhancement programme remains a critical and complex initiative to enable passengers to have the best possible travel experience.”

Etihad, which has Abu Dhabi International Airport as its base, has been routing more passengers through the capital as it adds capacity through partnerships with other airlines in which it invests, under what have become known as equity alliances.

Airbus also expects the aviation industry to shift its hubs for connecting passengers to the east, especially for cities such as Istanbul, Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

“The double-digit growth phenomenon still has a long way to go before any threat of saturation happens,” said Saj Ahmad, the chief analyst at StrategicAero Research. “The capacity management and enhancement system is working well – even under the rapid pressure of Etihad’s aggressive growth. The airport has heeded lessons from others, such as Dubai, in how to manage additional needs while expanding.”

selgazzar@thenational.ae

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