By Samihah Zaman, Staff Reporter www.gulfnews.com
Abu Dhabi: The massive infrastructure development in Abu Dhabi is expected to boost the emirate’s non-oil trade and push up the real gross domestic product (GDP) from Dh382 billion in 2008 to nearly Dh1.53 trillion in 2030, senior government officials said at a conference.
As Abu Dhabi continues its efforts to diversify production away from the oil and gas sector, a slew of multi-billion dirham projects is set to transform the capital city’s infrastructure and production outlook.
Currently, only 45 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s GDP comes from non-oil contributions, but infrastructure developments in the air and on the ground will aim to reverse this trend so that these industries contribute at least 60 per cent of the produce within the next two decades.
Among these, Abu Dhabi Airport Company (ADAC) is due to start construction of a new airport terminal that should be finished in the fourth quarter of 2016, part of the redevelopment of Abu Dhabi International Airport. The existing airport terminal, which was built for 3.5 million passengers in 1982, is expected to handle 12 million passengers by the end of the year. Haythem Haidar, chief development officer at Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), said this figure would increase to about 20 million passengers per year by 2018.
“The cost of the entire project is estimated at Dh34 billion, and when completed, the new building will be able to handle about 27 million passengers a year,” Haidar told Gulf News.
“Capacity at our current facility, which now consists of three buildings, has recently been enhanced, but air traffic into the capital is evolving greatly. Previously, most traffic stemmed from people whose flights originated or ended in Abu Dhabi. But since the establishment of Etihad Airways, this has changed and in 2011, 68 per cent of the traffic is from passengers who stop over at the airport on the way to their final destinations elsewhere,” he said.
The much-hyped development of the Khalifa Ports and Industrial Zone (KIZAD) in Taweelah by the Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) will be the first in the Middle East and North Africa region to include semi-automated features for the movement and stacking of freight and cargo.
Ashraf Al Khaznadar, executive vice-president of projects at the ADPC, said that the first phase of the Dh26.5 billion port island is on track to begin operations in the fourth quarter of 2012. “This initial phase will have a capacity of two million twenty-foot equivalent units, which is three times the capacity of the existing port in Mina Zayed. It spans 2.7 square km, large enough for 314 football pitches, and we have finished about 86 per cent of the construction of this port island within a year’s time,” he said.