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
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.''