Abu Dhabi International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to become ‘sister airports’, in a unique twinning arrangement which will see the sharing of technical, commercial and environmental best practices.
Under the agreement, the airports will set up joint Working Groups to evaluate ways in which they can work together on a wide range of areas. A particular focus will be given to a personnel exchange programme which will provide training and skills development opportunities for Abu Dhabi Airport staff.
The MoU was signed by HE Khalifa Al Mazrouei, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), and Rosemarie Andolino, Chicago’s Commissioner of the Department of Aviation, in a ceremony at the AON Centre in Chicago.
The signing was attended by leading members of a delegation from Abu Dhabi, and the UAE Ambassador to the United States, HE Yousef Al Otaiba, who are visiting Chicago to mark the recent launch of direct air services to the city by Etihad Airways, the Abu Dhabi-based national carrier of the UAE.
The agreement was initiated by the Gulf Centre for Aviation Studies (GCAS), a new aviation think tank and human capital development entity, which is an arm of ADAC, and the Chicago Department of Aviation. It is part of a select programme for international outreach with leading aviation entities. The Chicago Airport System, comprised of three airports, is the world’s busiest airport network.
The MoU, signed by the two airports, aims to establish collaboration across a number of areas, including technical cooperation and exchange, airport business and development opportunities, as well as on-the-job training.
A professional technical exchange and development programme for personnel from the two airports will encourage skills-sharing and knowledge transfer, while the two companies will also look at business and commercial opportunities for the airports and their customers.
In addition, the two will share approaches and experiences on airport sustainability and the promotion of green airports and their impact on a healthier climate.
HE Khalifa Al Mazrouei, who is also Director-General of the Municipality of Abu Dhabi, said:
“We are delighted that our airports are at the forefront of this cooperation. Our vision is for Abu Dhabi to have one of the world’s leading airports and we have been investing in developing our infrastructure and our skills to the highest levels.
“This partnership brings us together with a truly world-class partner and we are looking forward to developing the many opportunities it represents.
“The launch of flights by Etihad Airways between Abu Dhabi and Chicago offers great opportunities for our cities to work together, sharing our cultures and our experiences in many different sectors.
“Our technical and commercial working groups will establish programmes to bring real benefits to both airports and their two aviation communities, helping us to make the best of the new air links between our cities. I am particularly pleased with the opportunities for personnel exchanges, allowing us to develop the technical and management skills of our workforce in Abu Dhabi, especially for our Emirati employees.”
“On behalf of Mayor Richard M. Daley, we are honored and proud to establish this new partnership with Abu Dhabi International Airport,” said Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino. “The Cities of Chicago and Abu Dhabi have many similarities, including a vision for urban and economic growth with a focus on sustainability. We look forward to a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship between our airports.”
Abu Dhabi International Airport is currently one of the world’s fastest-growing airports, with more than 9.02 million passengers in 2008, up from 6.9 million the year before. It is home to Etihad Airways, the fastest-growing national airline in the history of aviation, in addition to more than 45 other carriers.
The airport this year opened its new Terminal 3, expanding its capacity to 12 million passengers a year, and work is under way on the Midfield Terminal Complex, which will extend capacity further to up to 40 million.
Chicago O’Hare International Airport is the world’s second busiest airport, with more than 69 million passengers in 2008, travelling within the United States and to more than 60 destinations worldwide.
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