Abu Dhabi's Al Bateen Airport to close for runway upgrades

Refurbishment will allow the airport to handle larger planes

Al Bateen Executive Airport is set to reopen on July 21. Photo: Abu Dhabi Airports

Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi is to close for more than two months for runway upgrades.

Abu Dhabi Airports on Tuesday said the expansion will allow the airport to handle larger aircraft.

The refurbishment runs from May 11 to July 20 and during this time only helicopters can use the airport.

Full service is expected to resume on July 21.

Al Bateen Airport, the second airport in Abu Dhabi and have been used by the public during the 70's and partly 80's. Archive Abu Dhabi Photos Black and White Courtesy Al Ittihad  *** Local Caption ***  000018.JPG

Al Bateen chiefly handles private jets but it was once Abu Dhabi's main airport.

It opened in the late 1960s to replace the old sabhka landing strip in the city centre. It even hosted an early visit from Concorde in 1974, part of a demonstration tour to win orders but also to prove the jet’s capability in hot temperatures.

Al Bateen had a distinctive modern concrete terminal and gave its name to Airport Road — now Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Street — which for many years was the main motorway out of the city, surrounded by nothing by sand.

But even Al Bateen could not cope with the surge of people flying into the fast-expanding city on the back of the oil boom.

Al Bateen functioned as the main airport until January 1982 when the current main airport opened to cater for increased demand.

In the years since, Al Bateen functioned as a military base before becoming a dedicated private jet airport.

Abu Dhabi Airports said it was in close contact with its stakeholders and customers to ensure minimal disruption during the refurbishment.

Al Bateen will also host Abu Dhabi Air Expo from November 1 to 3. The event is expected to attract more than 18,000 visitors and host more than 300 manufacturers and suppliers.

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Updated: May 10, 2022, 10:40 AM