ABU DHABI // Abu Dhabi's new private-jet airport, formerly known as the Al Bateen airbase, is to be renamed City Airport, the Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) said today. City Airport would be the first and only dedicated private jet airport in the Middle East and North Africa region, ADAC said. The name change was designed to communicate the airport's location, 10km from the heart of the city, and its proximity to developing areas as the emirate grows and continues towards its 2030 plan, the company said.
The private jet market in the Middle East is expanding rapidly. The number of charter flights departing from Abu Dhabi airport has increased 46 per cent year-on-year since 2004, and the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has recently had applications from more than two dozen new firms for licences to fly from the UAE. ADAC said it estimated the airport would become a Dh5 billion (US$1.36bn) "asset" to the emirate.
ADAC is investing more than Dh200m in facilities at the airport, which is set to be developed as an exclusive corporate jet facility. Stand capacity is set to grow from 50 to more than 120 spaces, with specific areas in hangers for the maintenance of a variety of aircraft. Options for an on site hotel were also being considered, ADAC said. The airport also will include a VIP and main passenger terminals, 24-hour access, airport services, maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities, fuelling, handling and all other fixed-base operational services.
Khalifa al Mazrouei, the chairman of ADAC, said that plans for City Airport would put it "firmly at the centre of the incredible growth of business aviation services in the region". "It is the first airport in the Middle East to be dedicated solely to business jets, part of the Abu Dhabi government's strategy to develop the emirate's economy over the coming years and to take advantage of upcoming industry developments".
ADAC said that recent studies had estimated that there were 388 corporate jets based in the Middle East, with the major markets consisting of Saudi Arabia (143 aircraft last year) and the UAE (43 aircraft). By 2014, it is forecast there will be 900 corporate jets based in the region, part of a global growth trend that will see 13,200 business aircraft delivered over the next 10 years. That will take the worldwide business jet fleet up from 12,800 last year to 24,800, almost doubling the market.