ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - November 1 2011 - New changes in Terminal 1 at Abu Dhabi Airport. ( DELORES JOHNSON / The National )
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - November 1 2011 - New changes in Terminal 1 at Abu Dhabi Airport. ( DELORES JOHNSON / The National )

Busy times ahead at Abu Dhabi airport

Abu Dhabi International Airport expects to post growth of about 11 per cent in passenger numbers this year as Etihad Airways expands new routes and the airport attracts more global airlines, said the head of Abu Dhabi Airports Company (Adac).

Come fly with us:

Industry Insights Take to the skies with The National as it charts the aviation industry. Learn More

More than one million passengers have flown through Abu Dhabi in each of the past four consecutive months, a record for the airport.

"I anticipate we will hit 12 million or a little above it this year," said James Bennett, the chief executive of Adac. "Next year we will probably be crossing 13 million."

Etihad has added seven new destinations to its network this year as it increases the number of passengers it carries from more than 7 million last year.

In addition, several new airlines have launched services to the capital, the latest of which is Arik Air, Nigeria's largest international carrier. More international carriers will connect with Abu Dhabi next year.

"With double-digit growth in passenger numbers every year … you can see the need for additional airport capacity," said Mr Bennett. "Our facilities … will not be able to accommodate that in the long term, so we need additional capacity."

Earlier this month, Adac announced work on the long-delayed Midfield Terminal building would go ahead from the second quarter of next year. Part of a Dh25 billion (US$6.80bn) to Dh27bn redevelopment and expansion plan, the 700,000 square metre terminal building is planned to be capable of handling between 27 million and 30 million passengers a year when it opens in 2017.

The go-ahead for the project comes despite the twin challenges posed by competition from other regional airports pushing ahead with ambitious expansion plans and a gloomier global economy.

Bahrain, Muscat and Doha are all raising airport capacity. Dubai International Airport's annual capacity is being raised from 60 million passengers to 90 million by 2018, with a new facility, Al Maktoum International Airport, serving the emirate's aviation needs beyond that.

"Aviation in this region is experiencing very strong growth and we anticipate that will continue," said Mr Bennett. "There will always be competition but there's also a lot of need in this region and we think there are opportunities for what we are doing here, what's going on in Dubai and Doha and elsewhere."

By tapping growing demand for air travel from India and the Asia Pacific, Abu Dhabi hopes to avoid any negative impact from the cooling economies of Europe and North America.

"Economic cycles come and go but we are building for the future," Mr Bennett said.

"This project has been very thoroughly reviewed by ourselves and the government of Abu Dhabi and there's been a lot of focus on that."

twitter: Follow and share our breaking business news. Follow us

Yahya Al Ghassani's bio

Date of birth: April 18, 1998

Playing position: Winger

Clubs: 2015-2017 – Al Ahli Dubai; March-June 2018 – Paris FC; August – Al Wahda


Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Monday's results
  • UAE beat Bahrain by 51 runs
  • Qatar beat Maldives by 44 runs
  • Saudi Arabia beat Kuwait by seven wickets