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Abu Dhabi airport posts new growth

Passenger figures at Abu Dhabi International Airport last month remained positive, according to data released yesterday by the Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC).

Passenger figures at Abu Dhabi International Airport last month remained positive, according to data released yesterday by the Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC). The airport continues to buck the aviation industry trend and saw growth last month of 2.5 per cent in passenger numbers. ADAC's passenger growth is being fuelled by new routes being opened by Etihad Airways, which in the past year launched several services including to Athens, Istanbul and Larnaca.

The airport is also benefiting from new airlines opening services to the UAE capital including Abu Dhabi's Elite Aviation and, soon, Kuwait's Jazeera Airways and the Kuala Lumpur-based Air Asia X, a long-haul budget carrier. Meanwhile, air cargo shipments at Abu Dhabi airport grew by 6.2 per cent to 34,003 tonnes and airmail shipments were boosted by 95 per cent, to 318,000kg. ADAC served 892,000 passengers last month compared with 870,000 in the same period last year.

Ahmed al Haddabi, the senior vice president of airport operations at ADAC, said a robust local economy helped to ensure increasing demand. "We continue to nurture our strong airline partnerships as well as making enhancements and improvements to the quality of our passengers' experience," he said. Andreas Schimm, the director of economics at Airports Council International, said airports worldwide were readjusting their growth forecasts following the global financial slowdown, although long-term prospects remained positive.

"The industry is losing at least three years of net growth over 2007," he said. "Generally though ? the growth trajectory of the industry experiences an interruption, not a fundamental shift." The top destinations connecting with Abu Dhabi included London, Bangkok, Bahrain, Doha and Cairo, ADAC said. The top countries served were India and Pakistan, followed by the UK, Saudi Arabia and Australia, which has encountered higher passenger figures since Etihad began serving Athens to cater to the Greek diaspora living in Australia, according to ADAC.

An average of 28,760 passengers used the airport each day, with August 2 seeing the month's highest one-day figure of 32,090. igale@thenational.ae

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