Abu Dhabi International Airport is set to handle 40 million passengers by 2030, as part of a US$6.8 million (Dh25 billion) redevelopment plan to facilitate the city’s emergence as a major regional hub.
“The projects will be completed in phases. In the immediate future, the air traffic control tower work will be completed in 2011, with the midfield terminal complex phase 1 also finished in the next few years,” a spokeswoman for Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) said in a Gulf News report.
“The completion of the midfield terminal complex phase 1 will increase the handling capacity of the Abu Dhabi International Airport to 20 million passengers a year, from 12 million passengers a year now.”
The airport’s handling capacity is set to increase to 40 million passengers a year by 2030, in line with the projected growth of Abu Dhabi and other mega-projects in the emirate, currently estimated to be worth US$200 billion.
The recently-built Terminal 3, which opened in 2009, took passenger handling capacity from five to 12 million passengers a year, enabling the airport to host 52 airlines.
“Abu Dhabi is fast growing into one of the world’s major cities and a top-class business centre. The growth of its airline, Etihad Airways, and the international airport is in line with the emirate’s Vision 2030,” Frost & Sullivan aviation analys, Max Sukkhasantikul said.
Middle East destinations such as Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi are fast emerging as aviation hubs due to their strategic global location, he added.
Abu Dhabi’s growth complements the prodigious growth of Dubai, and gives the United Arab Emirates a dominant position in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The expansion of its airport will allow the city to continue to capture huge influxes of passenger traffic.
“While Etihad will still be second fiddle to Emirates, it will be streets ahead of Doha. Doha’s new airport will still handle less [traffic] than Abu Dhabi. Etihad can leverage that strength to open up new routes and new markets and give passengers more travel choices,” FBE Aerospace analyst, Saj Ahmad said.
The top routes from Abu Dhabi in the first half of 2010 were London, Bangkok, Doha, Manila and Bahrain.