x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Passenger traffic soars at Al Bateen

Al Bateen Executive Airport is enjoying rising demand for business jet flights out of Abu Dhabi.

Business jets parked at Al Bateen Executive Airport.
Business jets parked at Al Bateen Executive Airport.

Abu Dhabi's business elite are increasingly turning to private jets to reach meetings on time, with flights from Al Bateen Executive Airport rising sharply in the first half of the year.

Demand at Abu Dhabi's dedicated hub for business jets is up nearly 40 per cent compared with the same period last year.

The airport, fresh from a major upgrade in which the former military facility was refashioned into a base for commercial activities, is enjoying "outstanding performance", say officials. "Traffic will continue to grow," said Stephen Jones, the general manager at Al Bateen airport, without disclosing the traffic figures.

The facility is the only airport on the island of Abu Dhabi and has touted its proximity to the capital's central business district as a draw for visiting businessmen and high-end visitors. The airport also heavily markets itself for some of Abu Dhabi's big annual attractions with incentives such as eliminating landing charges during the city's Formula One race last year.

Together with private jet facilities at Abu Dhabi International Airport operated by firms such as Royal Jet and the Presidental Flight, Abu Dhabi has some of the most luxurious air services and facilities in the world.

Al Bateen recently added its fifth operator, Rotana Jet, which launched operations with a Gulfstream G450 jet this year. The airport also recently unveiled a new base, known as "DhabiJet", to service aircraft and accommodate travellers.

Commercial movements, or flights from all aviation firms including helicopter operators, rose 12 per cent overall for the period from January to June, compared with the same period a year ago, said the operator, Abu Dhabi Airports Company (Adac). This equates to more than 4,500 commercial movements for the first half of the year.

Under Abu Dhabi's 2030 plan, the airport was originally scheduled to be redeveloped into commercial and residential projects, but the Government later decided to preserve the aviation facilities, paving the way for Adac to launch a major investment programme to upgrade the facilities.

Al Bateen and Abu Dhabi International are among just five airports in the emirate, in addition to Al Ain International, Sir Bani Yas and Delma Island airports.

Demand for commercial air travel at Abu Dhabi International is growing steadily, with Adac announcing strong results for May, the most recent data available. More than 943,000 passengers transited through the airport over the month, a 14 per cent gain over the same month the previous year. Cargo traffic also rose to 40,240 tonnes, up 4 per cent compared with a year earlier.