Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) said four new airlines are interested in flying to the capital's airport and that the recession had not dampened the appeal of the emirate as an aviation stop. ADAC is in the middle of an aggressive marketing campaign to increase the number of carriers to Abu Dhabi International Airport.
So far this year, five new airlines have started services to the airport, in addition to seven new carriers last year. The latest is Elite Aviation, the Abu Dhabi operator, which teamed up with Blue Wings of Germany to offer services to Dusseldorf and Berlin. "With the global situation it is not easy to attract new airlines, but to have five carriers begin flying here during a recession is spectacular," said Mohammed al Bulooki, the vice president for airline marketing and aeronautical revenue at ADAC.
"We want to keep adding not only new airlines but new routes, new cities, new destinations." The marketing push is part of the broader effort to stimulate new trade and economic development between the Emirates and the rest of the world, and also furthers Abu Dhabi's aim to boost tourism under its 2030 plan. It is also designed to support ADAC's infrastructure expansion plan. It opened Terminal 3 earlier this year, increasing its annual capacity to 12 million passengers. In 2012, it will add capacity for roughly 20m more passengers a year with the opening of the first phase of its Midfield Terminal, located between its two runways.
Latest passenger figures show that the airport continues to grow in contrast to many other hubs specialising in international traffic, with April seeing a 12 per cent rise in traffic in Abu Dhabi. Etihad Airways has contributed to this growth by launching new destinations and stimulating new traffic. It continues to grow and has planned an inaugural flight to Chicago for later this summer. Mr al Bulooki said the four airlines in discussions with ADAC on establishing routes to Abu Dhabi were from southeast Asia and Europe. ADAC, which made several announcements this week at the Paris Air Show, hoped to conclude some or all of the agreements this summer, he said.
ADAC signed technology firms from Germany, Switzerland and the UK this week to become the first tenants of its aerospace cluster in Al Ain International Airport. The airports company is financing Dh900m (US$245m) in office and warehousing space to build the cluster, which is a key pillar in the emirate's bid to diversify the economy away from oil and gas revenues. email@example.com