Abu Dhabi airport well-staffed to meet summer travel rush despite global labour crunch

Hub expects to handle 2.8 million passengers in July and August, three times more than in same period last year, says senior airport official

Passengers checking in for flights at the Abu Dhabi International Airport. Antonie Robertson / The National
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Abu Dhabi International Airport is adequately staffed to meet the surge in passenger travel demand during the peak summer period as the industry continues to recover, a senior official has said.

It has been preparing for the summer rush over the last few months, hiring more staff at check-in counters, improving check-in procedures and reopening its Terminal 2, which was closed during the Covid-19 pandemic, said Mark Souter, senior vice president of aviation development at AD Airports.

The measures are expected to reduce queue times and improve customers' experience, he told the Business Breakfast radio show on Dubai Eye on Tuesday.

“Across the airport ecosystem and with airline partners we're all ready and fully-resourced and fully trained and ready to welcome our passengers as they go on holidays and business trips.”

The global aviation industry is facing a shortage of employees. Many who were laid off during the pandemic have moved into other occupations or taken up more flexible work options.

This has led to chaos at major airports, big queues, flight delays or cancellations and baggage problems, particularly in Europe and the US, constraining airlines' capacity to meet rising travel demand.

Abu Dhabi International Airport has not been affected by the flight delays or cancellations in Europe, Mr Souter said. These tend to affect short-term routes with higher frequencies while long-haul routes such as London to the UAE “tend to be more protected”.

“Here in the UAE, we’ve been insulated from that … we haven’t seen too much impact from the disruption in Europe,” he said.

The hub, which is the base of Etihad Airways, expects passenger numbers to continue growing this year, with new routes and aircraft to be added to meet demand.

AD Airports forecasts that passenger traffic will more than double this year to 13 million, up from 5.3 million last year, Mr Souter said.

In February, the operator said it expects 10.7 million passengers to pass through the UAE capital's main airport in 2022.

The hub expects to handle 2.8 million passengers in July and August, three times more than during the same period last year, Mr Souter said.

Air travel in the UAE will rebound to 85 per cent to 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels during the summer, before dipping slightly in the autumn, he added.

Updated: July 05, 2022, 3:52 PM
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