Dhabi is well on its way to becoming a regional industrial
center, investing over $3 billion to develop its petrochemical
base and increase its upstream gas handling capacity
Abu Dhabi is also pushing to establish itself as a
leading transit center and tourist destination, upgrading
and expanding all elements of its infrastructure and
Dhabi International Airport is playing a key role
as the major entry point to the emirate; passenger
arrivals are increasing year by year.
al Mohairbi, Abu Dhabi International Airport's director,
says overall traffic through the airport in 1998 reached
3.4 million, an increase of 8 percent over 1997. This
included a 7 percent increase in departures, a 10
percent increase in arrivals and an 8 percent increase
in transit passengers.
the total, 33 percent were from the Middle East, 19
percent were from Gulf Cooperation Council countries
and 25 percent were from Asia, including 13 percent
from India. Another 11 percent of passengers were
from Europe, with a variety of other nationalities
making up the final 12 percent.
Mohairbi says more than 40 airlines now operate from
the airport, linking it to more than 90 international
airports. Over the past year a number of new airlines
were attracted by the airport's strategic location
and first-class facilities. ''During 1998, we signed
agreements with two charter airlines, Britannia and
LTU, under which they will utilize Abu Dhabi for their
technical stopovers and as a transit point during
flights between Europe and the Far East, '' he says.
number of new airlines also began operations out of
Abu Dhabi during 1998. These included Shaheen Air,
Air Maldives, Air Afrique and Czech Airlines. Their
entry has added northern Pakistan, the Maldives, West
Africa and Mauritania to the countries and regions
connected to Abu Dhabi and increased the choice and
flexibility of routes available to passengers.
Mohairbi is confident that the major expansion under
way in all aspects of the airport will confirm Abu
Dhabi's role as both a major transit point and a major
destination for the Gulf and the wider Middle East
region well into the 21st century. ''Once our airport
expansion program is complete,'' he says, ''Abu Dhabi
International Airport will be offering services in
keeping with the promise of the new millennium.''