Abu Dhabi Airports Company: Building for the Future

June 18, 2013 in Transport

In recent years Abu Dhabi has enjoyed some of the strongest economic growth in the world. The Emirates’ development is entrenched in its Economic Vision 2030, which aims to diversify beyond oil. With tourism figures on the up and business travel also in the ascendency, there has in recent times been an added onus on Abu Dhabi Airports.

The Economic Vision 2030 aims to create a suitable environment that will allow businesses and sectors to develop. Among the areas the Emirate is looking to grow is the aerospace market. Abu Dhabi is committed to developing its capabilities in the manufacturing and maintenance of civil and military aerospace equipment and parts, defence electronics and other equipment and space apparatus.

The Emirate intends to build on its existing aircraft maintenance business to become a world-class player in the maintenance, services, repair, overhaul and parts manufacturing segments. Further opportunities are envisaged in technical service, education and financial services for the aviation industry.

airportsAgainst this backdrop of ambition, Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) was created on the 4th March 2006 to spearhead the redevelopment of the Emirate’s aviation infrastructure. To this end, it plays a key part in the Government of Abu Dhabi’s Plan 2030. Wholly owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, the company is headquartered at its principal asset, Abu Dhabi International Airport.

ADAC is the operator of all five airports within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, namely: Abu Dhabi International Airport, Al Ain International Airport, Al Bateen Executive Airport, Delma Island Airport and Sir Bani Yas Island Airport.

Its primary role is to deliver an effective aviation infrastructure and services that can cater to the needs of the capital and the nation, and even the region.

Saying this, ADAC is spearheading the capacity expansion plans for Abu Dhabi International Airport through the development of the new Midfield Terminal Complex that will cater for 30 million passengers per year upon its completion in 2017. ADAC is also developing the infrastructure of the other airports with Abu Dhabi and Al Ain to ensure services and facilities are delivered within a framework of quality excellence in customer service.

The quality of services and state of the art and efficient infrastructure that ADAC provides combined with the prosperity Abu Dhabi is witnessing on all fronts; economy, business, tourism, and culture, increase the attractiveness of the company as the operator of the main hubs in the region, each in its sector of activity.

For the past 6 years, Abu Dhabi International Airport has been registering double digit growth in passenger traffic. This growth trend is directly affected and in line with the aggressive expansion plans of Etihad Airways, the National Carrier of the UAE, the attractiveness of Abu Dhabi as a business and leisure destination, and the continued increase in the airport’s network of airlines and destinations. In 2012 alone Abu Dhabi International Airport saw 14.7 million passengers pass through its airports with an 18.9 per cent increase over 2011.

Of course the continuing growth trend puts extra pressure on this airport and ADAC has plans to increase capacity in the existing terminals, in order to handle the ever-increasing volumes of transfer passengers, prior to the opening of the new Midfield Terminal Building.

This capacity enhancement program would include the development of a passenger arrival hall, bus gates, security screening facilities and additional A380 capable gates and stands.

Further extensive work would be carried out, in parallel with the MTB, to develop the East Midfield; a new 200 ha support area that would include facilities for cargo handling, in-flight catering, ground handling and other ancillary facilities that support the growth of the airport.

As an airport with significant land reserves and free trade zone status, ADAC is also working with private investors to develop complementary commercial activities on the airport. Current projects include a new hotel linked to Terminal 3, a retail link, and the T3 business park.

In the meantime, construction of the 700,000 square meters Midfield Terminal Building (MTB) is already under way, with the aim of delivering the state of the art gateway for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi with an annual capacity of 30 million passengers.

Passenger facilities and duty-free retail in the MTB will include high-end commercial offerings across more than 18,000 square meters, including internationally renowned luxury goods and designer outlets, and almost 10,000 square meters of international restaurants and cafes, offering a wide range of styles and cuisines. Passenger facilities will also include over 27,500 square meters of airline hospitality lounges, a transit hotel and a heritage and culture museum.

With such a vast array of development taking place, ADAC has taken the opportunity to adopt the latest high-tech services in aviation and airport technologies and ensure they are made available to all its customers; airlines and passengers, such as E-gates, self check-in kiosks, mobile apps and online tools, and off site check-in and facilities.

The company has also implemented a strategic marketing plan to attract new airlines and operators to its airports and encourages existing airlines to increase their services through new destinations and increased frequencies, all in the aim of improving the airport connectivity and services.

At the time of writing, ADAC has just announced that Cathay Pacific Airways has launched a new weekly passenger service between Abu Dhabi, UAE and Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This new route complements the airline’s existing three times weekly passenger service between Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong.

The new Riyadh service will commence on 04 May 2013, and will be operated by Airbus A330-300 aircraft.

Commenting on the new route, Eng. Ahmad Al Haddabi, Chief Operations Officer of ADAC, stated:

“Abu Dhabi – Saudi Market grew by 26 per cent during 2012, both in terms of O&D and transfer traffic. Therefore, ADAC is glad with the decision taken by Cathay pacific to extend their world class services to accommodate the growing demand for more routes out of Abu Dhabi. With Cathay Pacific Airways selecting Abu Dhabi as a connection between a key Middle East market and its global network, it illustrates the Capital’s firm position as an international aviation hub.”

ADAC also has an active and efficient working relationship with the stakeholders of the aviation industry and the governmental entities to ensure that future projects and initiatives are strategically planned to be in-line with the Abu Dhabi long term plan and serves vision 2030.

GCAA, DoT, the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi, UPC, TDIC, ADTA, Etihad, DED, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Finance are amongst the organisations that ADAC have established and maintains open communication lines with to ensure compatibility and transparency in all relevant activities and to capitalise on relevant initiatives to deliver sustainable growth for the aviation sector in the Emirate.

It appears that ADAC’s efforts are returning a rich harvest. In April 2013 ADAC celebrated winning the “Best Airport in the Middle East” award, for the second year running, at the prestigious 2013 World Airport Awards, for Abu Dhabi International Airport.

H.E. Ali Majed Al Mansoori, Chairman of ADAC, commented: “ADAC is proud of Abu Dhabi International Airport’s claiming the title of “Best Airport in the Middle East” for the second year, as it is motivating to know that our efforts and hard work are being appreciated and acknowledged.”

H.E. continued: “We would like to thank all of our partners and stakeholders, particularly Abu Dhabi Police and customs, for their continued support to all ADAC initiatives. We would also like to extend our thank you to all passengers who took part in the survey for their positive feedback and trust in Abu Dhabi International Airport and its services.”

“ADAC is on track with its plans for the development of the Emirate’s airports infrastructure to support Abu Dhabi Vision 2030, and deliver efficient and quality services that will exceeds that of leading international airports. This accolade today adds to our accountability and commitment to deliver the iconic MTB in 2017 positioning Abu Dhabi and the UAE as the air transport hub for the region” added Al Mansoori.