x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Capital's air passenger count rises 14% in August

Abu Dhabi International Airport saw passenger traffic grow thanks in part to new Etihad destinations and a focus on making the capital a tourist destination.

Passenger traffic grew by 14 per cent at Abu Dhabi International Airport in August compared with the same month last year.

Abu Dhabi Airports Company (Adac) yesterday released a report saying 1.09 million passengers travelled through the airport in August.

"We've seen quite an aggressive approach of Etihad [Airways] with the new destinations they have started, having a much more critical mass of passengers, so they've been doing very, very well in their passenger transfer and also point-to-point flights," said George Karamanos, the vice president for corporate marketing and communications at Adac.

The Abu Dhabi airport is Etihad's home base.

"The approach of making Abu Dhabi a tourist destination is also bearing fruits," Mr Karamanos said.

Carriers such as Cathay Pacific adding Abu Dhabi to their routes and the Eid holiday period also boosted passenger numbers, he said.

London, Jeddah, Doha, Bangkok and Manila were the top five airline destinations from Abu Dhabi during August. Travellers heading to those cities made up 21 per cent of the airport's passenger traffic for the month.

The airport recorded a 12.2 per cent increase in passenger traffic in the first eight months of this year, outperforming the average growth in GCC air passenger traffic.

The International Air Transport Associationsaid late last month that passenger traffic for the region's carriers grew by 8.3 per cent in the first seven months of the year, while airline capacity rose 9 per cent.

"The continuous increase of Abu Dhabi International Airport's passenger traffic goes in parallel with the growth that the emirate is witnessing in trade, industry and tourism," said James Bennett, the chief executive of Adac.

"Up to August, we have welcomed 8 million passengers through our airport."

Cargo traffic at the Abu Dhabiairport also rose, reaching 39,841 tonnes in August, an increase of 5 per cent over the same month last year.

gvanzyl@thenational.ae