A VIP terminal will open at Abu Dhabi International Airport towards the end of this year with separate immigration, police and baggage handling facilities to ensure speedy arrival and departure procedures for travellers.
The new terminal is part of the Abu Dhabi Airports Company's multibillion-dollar capacity enhancement programme (CEP) to increase the facility's capacity to 17 million passengers per year by 2017.
Under the programme, a second runway and a third terminal have already been completed. A total of 7.9 million passengers used the airport in the first six months of this year, a 12.6 per cent increase compared with the same period a year earlier.
Last year, the airport saw 18.9 per cent growth in passenger traffic compared with 2011. The number of flights rose 10.4 per cent to 65,072 in the June-July period.
Any interested traveller will be able to access the 924 square metre facility for a set fee, the cost of which will be announced when the terminal opens. A dedicated drop-off area, with a new road built to service it, will help to ensure the speedier processing time.
Guests using the new terminal will be welcomed and escorted by a special services National Aviation Services (NAS) agent to facilitate check-in, baggage and immigration procedures and they will be driven to and from the aircraft directly by a limousine service.
VIPs will also be able to enjoy a range of services and facilities in the private terminal including free food and drinks, entertainment, floral services and baggage delivery to homes and hotels. The VIP facility will be operated by NAS, which already provides Golden Class services in Terminals 1 and 3.
"The VIP Terminal will enhance the level of service at the existing Abu Dhabi International Airport and will also provide style and sophistication for travellers, on par with the best airports in the world," Hassan El Houry, the NAS chief executive, said. "With its seamless immigration and baggage handling services, and private limousine services directly to and from the aircraft, the VIP Terminal is set to take 'travel in style' to the next level."
Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, Prince Fahd bin Abdullah, the president of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), has approved a list of penalties for airlines that violate regulations over the transport of pilgrims for the coming Haj season. Punishments include grounding planes that lack required permits.
The GACA said the penalties would allow the agency to hold a plane at an airport if it did not have a prior permit to transport pilgrims, according to the ArabNews website.
The penalties includes fining any carriers that do not arrive or leave the kingdom within a predefined time span. Violating carriers will be fined 10,000 Saudi riyals (Dh9,792) for each landing plane and 15,000 riyals for each departing jet.
The GACA also stated any flight that departed without an approriate licence would pay a fine of between 20,000 riyals and 100,000 riyals. Any group or individual deemed to have assisted a flight to depart without completing the necessary pilgrimage procedures will be fined up to 50,000 riyals. The regulations state that airlines carrying pilgrims and their agents should present a log of times and passengers on arrival.
If a carrier fails to present it or delays presentation, it will be fined between 20,000 riyals and 50,000 riyals per flight. Airlines can file appeals against any ruling with the committee for the board of grievances within 60 days of notification.
* with agencies