Abu Dhabi International Airport today marks its 30th anniversary, celebrating three successful decades of providing travellers and customers with world class services and state of the art facilities. The capital’s international gateway has seen over 126 million passengers pass through the airport since its opening at its current location on January 4, 1982.
Having historically been based in Al Bateen since 1969, Abu Dhabi International Airport started operation at its current location 38 km outside the city of Abu Dhabi in 1982. Terminal 1 covered 5,200 square metres and catered for 3 million passengers per year, which was later increased to 5 million passengers per year when Terminal 1A was opened. A growing number of airlines have since established their operations at Abu Dhabi International Airport, notably the UAE’s national carrier, Etihad Airways.
On the occasion of the 30th anniversary, H.E. Khalifa Al Mazrouei, Chairman of ADAC, said: “Abu Dhabi Airports Company is proud to be celebrating this special occasion and highlighting Abu Dhabi International Airport’s achievements over the past thirty years. The Emirate of Abu Dhabi has experienced remarkable development in this short period of time, with Abu Dhabi International Airport being a vital part of the capital’s growth. Already established as a major international hub for travellers around the globe, Abu Dhabi International Airport is committed to further developing into a leading airport in the region, and a key contributor to the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision of economic diversification.”
The past 30 years have been particularly successful for Abu Dhabi International Airport in terms of airline and infrastructure developments. Etihad Airways launched in 2003 and was named the national carrier for the UAE. Terminal 2 opened in 2005 with a passenger capacity of 2 million passengers per year. Four years later in 2009, Terminal 3 was delivered, providing Etihad Airways with a dedicated terminal and a handling capacity of an additional 5 million passengers per year. In the same year, the 4,100 metres North Runway was completed doubling the airport’s runway capacity, while being the first airport in the UAE with CATIIIB capability. In 2011, Abu Dhabi International Airport saw the completion of the iconic Air Traffic Control Complex, developed to enhance the capacity and efficiency of air traffic services at the Capital airport and cater to the anticipated growth in air traffic in the years to come. During the same year, ADAC completed an enhancement and refurbishment project at Terminal 1 to align its facility and offerings to that of Terminal 3 and other world class airports.
Today Abu Dhabi International Airport caters to 53 international airlines connecting Abu Dhabi with more than 85 destinations in over 49 countries globally. Passenger numbers have also continued to increase over the past 30 years positioning Abu Dhabi International Airport as one of the fastest growing hubs in the world. Under Abu Dhabi Airport’s Company management, the airport has more than doubled passenger numbers during the past 6 years from 5.3 million in 2006 to above 12 million in 2011. In July 2010, the airport surpassed the one (1) million passenger mark for the first time in a specific month, which became a trend throughout the second half of 2011.
World class service and passenger satisfaction are key strategic objectives for Abu Dhabi International Airport, hence it tailors its developments and expansion plans towards delivering a unique travel experience to all travelers from the Capital’s gateway. The Airport is renowned worldwide for its fast travel procedures and in the recent years ADAC has launched initiatives towards this end, such as remote check-in facilities, increased number of self check-in kiosks, free Wi-Fi, e-gates, children’s play areas and a wide selection of duty free outlets and dinning offerings, along with luxurious and newly refurbished hospitality lounges.
The Capital’s airport also accommodates within its facilities over 200 businesses and agencies from airlines to handlers, operators and government entities. ADAC has successfully developed an efficient working relationship with all its stakeholders geared towards enhancing services and facilities for all customers.
In the past 12 months, the Airport has achieved some significant milestones placing it among the world’s leading airports in terms of airport development, customer services, and partner relationships. In November 2011, Abu Dhabi International Airport became the first Carbon Accredited airport in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. This announcement coincided with hosting the first Airport Council International (ACI) Exhibition, Airport Exchange, in the Middle East, which positioned ADAC as a pioneering innovator in the region’s aviation industry.
ADAC secured various prestigious awards in 2011, including 5 Stevie Awards from International Business Awards, Best Airport in the Middle East and Best Airport for Tax-free Shopping by Business Destinations, Best Premium Service Airport by Skytrax “the World Airports’ Awards”, Best Airport Marketing in the World Award by World Routes.
H.E. Khalifa Al Mazrouei concluded: “As Abu Dhabi International Airport celebrates its 30th anniversary, ADAC looks forward to new challenges and opportunities to take the Capital’s airport to new heights in the years ahead, and to deliver to the UAE and Abu Dhabi International Airport infrastructure and services that continuously exceed expectations.”
In the coming five years, ADAC will be focusing on achieving further competitive milestones with the completion of the new Midfield Terminal Building (MTB), which is scheduled to open in 2017. The 700,000 square meter terminal building is a landmark project being undertaken in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, and will be able to handle 27-30 million passengers per year when it opens.