x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Etihad sticks with rescheduled flights

Abu Dhabi International Airport was closed for less than five hours yesterday, but the effects will continue into today.

Etihad Airways, which operates 70 per cent of flights out of Abu Dhabi International Airport, rescheduled five flights for today.
Etihad Airways, which operates 70 per cent of flights out of Abu Dhabi International Airport, rescheduled five flights for today.

ABU DHABI // Despite fears that it would be out of action for 12 hours, Abu Dhabi International Airport was closed for runway repairs yesterday for less than five, although the effects will continue into today as the terminal accommodates rescheduled flights. The closure, to allow a worn section of runway to be relaid, had been due to last from 2.15am yesterday to 2.15pm, but the work was completed and the airport reopened by 7am. The airline Etihad, which operates 70 per cent of flights at the airport, said its programme of rescheduling continued as planned and would last into today. It rescheduled 14 flights on Monday, 64 yesterday and five more for tomorrow, in addition to cancelling eight flights yesterday. Tom Clarke, a spokesman for the airline, said it had been made aware that the work might finish early "but since we'd rescheduled the flights to after 2.15pm, we stuck to that because it made sense and we knew exactly when they would be due to fly in". Five Etihad flights landed in the 30 minutes after 2.15pm, when the airport had been due to reopen, he said. "It's very busy but everything is running as scheduled." At the airport, Etihad added an extra 50 people to its normal complement of about 95 to work as "gate advisers" and to offer food, drink and blankets to passengers faced with long waits for flights. "At the moment it has gone smoothly," Mr Clarke said, adding he had not had reports of passengers arriving at the airport unaware of the changes. The airline had managed to contact about 80 per cent of affected passengers before their flights and an Etihad web page about the rescheduling had attracted 5,000 hits. In the first half of this year, passenger traffic at the airport increased 38.6 per cent. Currently, it has only one operational runway but a second is nearing completion. @Email:dbardsley@thenational.ae