Passenger traffic at Abu Dhabi International Airport increased 38.6% in the first-half of 2008 over the same period last year. Cargo handled in H1 also enjoyed steady growth, up 15.8% at 172,762 tons, with aircraft movements up 16.8% over the same period in 2007.
Figures for the second quarter (Q2) alone saw passenger figures grow at 29.7%. The monthly figures for June 2008 (against June 2007) were similarly consistent, with passenger numbers up 35.6%, cargo up 13.2% and aircraft movements in solidly positive territory at 14.1%.
“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.
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% growth, Terminal 2 saw a significant rise in traffic (30%) due to the start of operations this year by the likes of Sama and NAS air.
The five most popular city destinations travelled to from the UAE capital in June were: Doha, Cairo, London, Manama and Jeddah. These five cities represented 17% of total traffic through Abu Dhabi International Airport in the month of June.