July 21, 2008

Passenger Growth Up 38.6% at Abu Dhabi Airport in H1 2008

Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), the owner-operator of Abu Dhabi International Airport (ADIA), today released figures revealing its passenger, cargo and aircraft movements for the first-half (H1) of 2008, with passenger traffic showing a continuingly robust trend of 38.6 percent growth over the same period last year.

Cargo handled in H1 also enjoyed steady growth, up 15.8 percent at 172,762 tons, with aircraft movements up 16.8 percent over the same period in 2007.

Figures for the second quarter (Q2) alone saw passenger figures grow at a comparatively more modest rate of 29.7 percent; yet, in relation to international norms, the growth rates are extremely healthy.

The monthly figures for June 2008 (against June 2007) were similarly consistent, with passenger numbers up 35.6 percent, cargo up 13.2 percent and aircraft movements in solidly positive territory at 14.1 percent.

"It is clear that Abu Dhabi is currently enjoying a reversal or 'bucking' of the industry's international trends which demonstrates the strength and growth of the home-based airline, Etihad Airways, and the increasing understanding Abu Dhabi has as a natural, strategic and competitive hub for long-haul transit traffic connecting East and West," said Rudy Vercelli, CEO of ADAC.

"Although the growth rates here are much higher than international levels, they are more common from a regional standpoint and passenger traffic at Abu Dhabi Airport remains in line with anticipated projections," added Vercelli.

The soon-to-be-opened Terminal 3 demonstrates Abu Dhabi International Airport's literal need to grow and accommodate the influx of passengers it is now receiving and the new five million passenger facility set to be fully opened later this year will do just that by bringing the total passenger capacity at the airport to over 12 million.

The full use of Terminal 3's facilities, including immigration areas, baggage handling and the airport's new retail environment is scheduled to be fully operational towards the end of 2008; however, the incremental or phased opening of the terminal actually started earlier in the year and a number of its gates are now being used.

While Abu Dhabi's Terminal 1/1A reported the strongest growth of the existing terminals with a 33 percent growth, Terminal 2 saw a significant rise in traffic (30 percent) due to the start of operations this year by the likes of Sama and NAS air.

In related airport news, ADAC also released the top five most popular city destinations travelled to from the UAE capital in June which were: Doha (first), Cairo, London, Manama and Jeddah. These five cities represented 17 percent of total traffic through Abu Dhabi International Airport in the month of June. 2008 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

Originally published by By Al-Bawaba Reporters.

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