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Abu Dhabi International Airport capacity to increase by 75% over next two years

30-Nov-2010
ADAC CEO, James Bennett
ADAC CEO, James Bennett

Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) plans to spend AED500 million (USD136.1 million) to raise the passenger handling capability at Abu Dhabi International Airport (ADIA) by 75% over the next two years. ADAC stated the capacity enhancement programme will be implemented to increase the throughput potential of the airport from 12 million to 20 million passengers p/a.

The project will include and expansion of terminal facilities, additional parking, enhanced baggage transfer systems, heightened perimeter security and new catering. The airport is also considering an increase in the number of gates to handle A380 aircraft. 

The increase is to act as a sto-gap measure until its USD6.8 billion redevelopment plan is complete. ADAC has stated work on the plan is on track. When completed in 2030, ADIA’s handling capacity will increase to 40 million passengers p/a. The project includes construction of the new Midfield Terminal Complex and air traffic control tower.

ADAC plans to soon invite bids for the construction of the USD6.8 midfield terminal. ADAC has stated the construction of the midfield terminal is a key element of the broader Midfield Complex, which will include cargo and catering facilities, utilities and related infrastructure. The 630,000sqm terminal, designed by US-based Kohn Pederson Fox, is estimated to take five years to complete and will be built between the two runways at the airport. Phase one of the terminal’s construction will increase ADIA’s capacity to 27 million passengers p/a. Fourteen groups submitted pre-qualification bids for the terminal in Apr-2010 and the process was recently completed. The construction will also include a multi-storey carpark.

Abu Dhabi International Airport Midfield Terminal design

The first phase of the midfield terminal was originally expected to open in 2011, but has been pushed back a number of times. As a result, ADAC’s new CEO James Bennett has stated that his first priority is to ensure the delivery of the new midfield terminal by 2015. The former CEO of Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority stated improvements “had to be made to support the rapid growth of Etihad” and other airlines operating at the airport.

Etihad Airways, which moved to the AED1.1 billion (USD299.4 million) Terminal 3 last year, is expected outgrow capacity there after just two years in operation. T3 expanded ADIA’s capacity from 5 million to 12 million passengers p/a. Etihad is now working with ADAC on the expansion. At present, the carrier has a massive 66% share of capacity at the airport, while all other carriers operating to/from the airport having only single-digit capacity share.

Abu Dhabi International Airport capacity share by carrier* (seats per week* as % of total)

ADIA’s 109m air traffic control tower is also expected to be completed in 2011. Thales, awarded a USD36.7 million contract for the tower in late 2008, will provide systems and the command centre for the 20-storey tower, to be located between the first and second runways.

In other construction, ADIA awarded Depa Limited JV specialist contractor company Mivan Depa a contract for the refurbishment of several areas of Terminal 1 at the airport.

ADAC and Premier Inn, a UK budget hotel operator, have also signed an agreement to build a Premier Inn hotel at ADIA. The AED120 million (USD33 million), 300-room hotel is expected to be complete by 2012.

ADIA expecting to handle 10 million passengers this year

The expansion comes as ADIA expects to handle 10 million passengers this year, after reporting an 11.7% year-on-year growth in passenger numbers for 1H2010 to 5.1 million. ADIA attributed the improvement to a rebound in international passenger traffic and Etihad’s increased frequencies and new destinations and the launch of new services by new and existing airlines at the airport. Cargo tons increased 20.3% to 209,958 for the period.

The airport also reached a record of reporting 1 million passengers in Jul-2010, the first time the airport has handled 1 million passengers in a month. Passenger numbers have also been boosted over the past month by Haj services and the recent Formula One Grand Prix.

Passengers numbers are also expected to further increase in 2011, with Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority aiming to attract 1.9 million hotel guests to the emirate in 2011, which it hopes will contribute 11.1% to the emirate's non-oil GDP. The 1.9 million target is a 15% increase over its 2010 target. The emirate plans to shift away from its business tourism-dominated profile to a balance between business and leisure tourism.

The airport handled 9.7 million passengers in 2009, a 7.3% year-on-year increase.

Abu Dhabi International Airport passenger numbers and growth (% change year-on-year)

Passenger numbers are rising not only due to the continuous expansion of Etihad, but also a number of international carriers. There are 52 airlines operating to/from ADIA at present, which is only set to increase as the airport grows to become a regional hub.

Abu Dhabi International Airport route developments: 2010

Airline

Origin

Destination

Frequency

Date effective

Aircraft

New

Total

Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi

Beirut

4

18

01-Jan-10

n/a

Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi

Cairo

3

10

01-Jan-10

n/a

Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi

Hyderabad

3

7

01-Jan-10

A320

Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi

Colombo

4

4

01-Jan-10

A320

Ukraine International Airlines

Abu Dhabi

Kiev

2

5

07-Feb-10

B737

AirAsia X

Kuala Lumpur

Abu Dhabi

-3

0

21-Feb-10

A340

Etihad Crystal Cargo

Abu Dhabi

N'djamena

1

1

22-Mar-10

MD-11F

Etihad Crystal Cargo

Abu Dhabi

Erbil

2

2

26-Mar-10

A300-600F

Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi

Nagoya-Beijing

1

5

27-Mar-10

A330

Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi

Tokyo

5

5

27-Mar-10

A330

GMG Airlines

Dhaka

Abu Dhabi

2

2

28-Mar-10

n/a

Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi

Dublin

3

10

28-Mar-10

A330-200

Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi

Moscow

14

14

28-Mar-10

A320

Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi

Frankfurt

1

14

28-Mar-10

n/a

Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi

Nagoya

1

5

29-Mar-10

A330

Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi

Beijing

1

5

3-Apr-10

n/a

Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi

Baghdad

5

5

26-Apr-10

A320

Air France

Paris CDG

Abu Dhabi

5

5

03-May-10

A330

Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi

Erbil

2

2

01-Jun-10

A320

Royal Falcon Airlines

Marka

Abu Dhabi

2

2

01-Jun-10

B737-400

Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi

Alexandria

4

4

12-Jul-10

A320

Air Arabia Egypt

Alexandria

Abu Dhabi

4

4

12-Jul-10

A320

Etihad Crystal Cargo

Abu Dhabi

Beijing

4

4

11-Aug-10

MD11

Etihad Crystal Cargo

Abu Dhabi

Hong Kong

2

2

13-Oct-10

A330-200

Air Astana

Almaty

Abu Dhabi

7

7

31-Oct-10

A320/A321

Lufthansa

Frankfurt

Abu Dhabi

1

7

31-Oct-10

n/a

Air Astana

Astana

Abu Dhabi

4

4

31-Oct-10

A320/A321

Air India

Mumbai

Abu Dhabi

2

7

01-Nov-10

A321

Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi

Seoul Incheon

7

7

12-Dec-10

A330-200

V Australia

Sydney

Abu Dhabi

3

3

24-Feb-11

B777-300ER

Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi

Bangalore

7

7

27-Mar-11

A320

Retail sales also on the up

ADIA also reported a 19% year-on-year improvement in duty free retail turnover for 1H2010, to USD75 million, outperforming the airport’s passenger numbers growth over the same period. Spend per passenger also increased for the half, up 7.2% to USD14.47.

ADIA CCO Huraiz Almur bin Huraiz stated the results are proof the airport is achieving its goal of encouraging passengers to spend more. The CCO attributed the improvement to a recovery in consumer confidence and ADAC’s investment programme in Terminal 1 and an upgrade in retail offerings in Terminal 3.

Awards maintenance contract to SITA

In other ADAC developments, the company awarded SITA a five-year contract for maintenance at all five of its airports. Under the contract, ADIA will become the first major hub in the Middle East to use the new IATA CUPPS (common-use passenger processing systems) passenger processing standard.

The agreement also provides for SITA to maintain more than 350 check-in counters, 24 self-service kiosks for airline use and upgrade the baggage reconciliation system across Abu Dhabi Airport’s three terminals, Al Ain International Airport, Al Bateen Executive Airport and Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) terminal and City terminal.

ADAC promoting UAE as business hub through Al Bateen

Elsewhere, ADAC commenced redevelopment of Al Bateen Executive Airport in Sep-2010. The airport reported a 34.4% year-on-year increase in aircraft movements for the first six months of 2010. Al Bateen Vice President Mohammed Al Bulooki stated the airport expects traffic to continue to rise this year, peaking during Nov-2010 due to the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

In anticipation of the traffic growth, ADAC has commenced a redevelopment plan for Al Bateen Airport.  Phase one is tailored to the necessary developments needed to accommodate the Formula 1 race. Within these developments, Al Bateen also commissioned a new instrument landing system and GNSS/VOR/DME-based precision approach in Sep-2010, meaning the airport will no longer be limited to VFR operations. The installation of the precision landing aids has allowed more operators to use the airport.

ADAC expects Al Bateen to take a leading position in promoting the UAE as a hub for business aviation. To promote the region, the airport offered free landing and parking to all visiting VIP aircraft using the Executive Terminal during the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 race between 11-Nov-2010 and 14-Nov-2010. The airport has capacity to handle 70 business aircraft at one time. Based operators at Al Bateen include Al Jaber Aviation, Falcon Aviation, Prestige Jet and XO Jet.

In other developments, the airport’s new General Manager Steve Jones started work at Al Bateen in Nov-2010. Mr Jones joins Al Bateen after working at London Oxford Airport for 10 years.

ADAC plans to create its own FBO team for the airport next year. Other planned developments include the construction of an airport hotel and modernisation of the airport’s access roads. 

ADAC to invest in Zanzibar Airport

Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) has reportedly expressed interest in extending its operations in Zanzibar, Tanzania. ADAC President Jeff Revnolds stated that the airports investor and operator has been attracted by the development of Zanzibar Airport and the “booming” tourism industry. ADAC is reportedly working with Tanzania’s Civil Aviation Department and Ministry of Communication and Transport to explore options for its operations in the country. Mr Revnolds stated ADAC is confident Zanzibar Airport has the ability to attract international airlines, now that its runway has been improved and passenger terminal is to be expanded.


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