Residents and businesses welcome plans for airport in Ajman
AJMAN // Residents and tourism workers have welcomed Ajman’s plans to build a Dh2.1 billion international airport.
The airport, which is expected to receive its first flight in 2018, is to be built in Al Manama, on Ajman’s eastern border.
Designs were finalised by Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman, this month.
Residents who now have to drive to Sharjah or Dubai for a flight said they were excited at the prospect of an airport on their doorsteps.
“All of my flights are from Dubai and I’m always in a rush to reach them,” said Dariush Karimi, 22, a business student who regularly flies to the UAE from his home in Iran to stay with his parents.
“It will also increase business and tourism in the emirate.”
Hotel executives said they were keen to make the most of the boost to tourism an airport would provide.
“It will bring more people to the emirate, which will boost tourism and the occupancy level of resorts,” said Jugal Khushalani, marketing manager at Ajman Saray Hotel.
He said it was important the airport could attract the right kind of charter flights to lift guest numbers.
“Once we get more details of what sort of flights and charter airlines, we can put together a strategy on what kind of clients we can take,” Mr Khushalani said.
He said hotels did not face any major problems in bringing guests from Dubai or Sharjah, but anything that cut travel time was a bonus for people on holiday.
Ashutosh Sharma, general manager at Ajman Beach Hotel, said he was waiting to see what facilities were available but was planning to “take office space at the airport because that can directly bring guests to the hotel”.
“It is not close but the network of roads is good so it won’t take much time to get them from Al Manama,” he said. “It will definitely increase the tourist numbers because tourism is growing every year and the number of hotels is recently increasing.”
Rashidi Omrani, chief executive of Ajman International Airport, said he did not plan to compete for business with the larger airports in the country.
Mr Omrani said aircraft maintenance and cargo would make up most of the business.
“One important issue is aircraft maintenance, another is cargo,” he said. “Of course we will have passengers and corporate jets. This project will boost business and tourism, not only for Ajman.
“It will be open for big businesses and this is income for the emirate.”
Faisal Kalamparamp, 28, from India, works and lives close to the site of the new airport and was delighted at the news, despite the prospect of living under the flight path.
“Going to Sharjah airport takes one hour and to Dubai one and a half hours, but this one is close to my house and will just take five minutes,” Mr Kalamparamp said.