Airport operator aims to attract extra airlines to bring in more tourists and corporate travellers.
Terminal A of Abu Dhabi Airport aims to host a vast number of passengers as it plans to commence flights to the UAE capital. Abu Dhabi envisions a future where it can operate with a capacity of 65 million passengers expected in 2030, up from 45 million currently.
At the Abu Dhabi Airport, Terminal A caters to 28 airlines, with the addition of flights by Air France, Russian state airline Aeroflot, low-cost company Pobeda and Czech airline Smartwings.
“We are trying to leverage a lot on the government-to-government relations at the moment. I would say Asia and China are a target,” Elena Sorlini, managing director and interim chief executive of Abu Dhabi Airports, said in a statement.
“We also have the US pre-clearance facility, which is an asset as there are only 15 airports in the world that have them, and we want to try to bank on that. These are the ongoing discussions.
“The target is to enhance the connectivity of Abu Dhabi and to unlock its potential from a tourist, trade and air cargo perspective, so we are putting some science in terms of the markets we want to target.”
The new terminal at the Abu Dhabi International Airport will position Abu Dhabi as a global business and tourism hub.
Expansion Plans for the Future
Along with the home carrier Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi aims to expand its wings to 65 million passengers while the home carrier plans to triple its capacity to 33 million passengers and its fleet to 150 iron birds.
“That will be done in a modular way, so you deploy capacity when needed, and we are starting to look at that because we are at a stage where we've beaten our expectations, so we need to be ready for the next step,” Ms Sorlini said.
“The time frame needs to be activated within the next 10 years with Etihad's vision for 2030 to reach 33 million passengers, so you can get the implications in terms of this place starting to become a bit constrained.”
In 2023, Terminal A is projected to handle 22 million passengers, up from 21.9 million in 2019, Ms Sorlini said in a statement to the media.
Aircraft movements of around 410 in number are expected in the winter season, quite up as compared to the summer season, according to the airport data.
“We have four new carriers and we have Etihad Airways that is growing,” Ms Sorlini said, highlighting the growth of UAE carriers Wizz Air Abu Dhabi and Air Arabia Abu Dhabi.
To accommodate such competitive numbers and mass-scale operations, Abu Dhabi Airports are in full swing to put eligible and competent resources in place.
“We need to assess. Definitely, we're going to close it for aviation activities and we will develop plans … Terminal 1 still has a bit of soul and heart, despite being old, but it is still really nice and is a sort of heritage for Abu Dhabi so we want to give meaning to it,” Ms Sorlini said upon answering about the functionality and positioning of Terminal 1.
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