Abu Dhabi Airport Sees Growth Continuing
Abu Dhabi's airport expects continued double-digit growth in passenger numbers near term as its national carrier Etihad Airways develops and the emirate continues to expand its economy, the airport operator's CEO said.
James Bennett, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), also said a contract to build the airport's mid-field terminal would be completed by the second quarter of 2012.
The airport saw a 12.2-percent growth in passenger traffic in 2010, handling around 11 million passengers. In the first nine months of this year, passenger traffic stood at 9 million.
"We anticipate finishing the year at over 12 million and we'll see double digit growth for the next few years," Bennet said.
"The airport infrastructure will support Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi's 2030 vision of developing into a business and tourist centre," he said.
Abu Dhabi, a major oil exporter, is investing billions of dollars in industry, tourism, infrastructure and real estate to diversify its economy away from oil.
Its national carrier Etihad Airways continues to order new aircraft as it expands its network. It already flies to 86 cities and will add 6 new destinations - Maldives, Seychelles, Chengdu in China, Dusseldorf, Shanghai and Nairobi - over the next six months, the airline said in October.
ADAC's expansion plans, which began in 2006, saw the refurbishment of the airport's Terminal 1, the opening of Terminal 3, and a new runway in 2009. The next major expansion is the new mid-field terminal, to be operational in 2017.
Six international/local consortiums have been pre-qualified for the mid-field terminal contract. "We anticipate processing it and starting construction next year," he said, declining to give a value for the deal because the selection was ongoing.