Dhabi is well on its way to becoming a regional
industrial center, investing over $3 billion to
develop its petrochemical base and increase its
upstream gas handling capacity alone.
Abu Dhabi is also pushing to establish itself as
a leading transit center and tourist destination,
upgrading and expanding all elements of its infrastructure
and transport facilities.
Dhabi International Airport is playing a key role
as the major entry point to the emirate; passenger
arrivals are increasing year by year.
al Mohairbi, Abu Dhabi International Airport's director,
says overall traffic through the airport in 1998
reached 3.4 million, an increase of 8 percent over
1997. This included a 7 percent increase in departures,
a 10 percent increase in arrivals and an 8 percent
increase in transit passengers.
the total, 33 percent were from the Middle East,
19 percent were from Gulf Cooperation Council countries
and 25 percent were from Asia, including 13 percent
from India. Another 11 percent of passengers were
from Europe, with a variety of other nationalities
making up the final 12 percent.
Mohairbi says more than 40 airlines now operate
from the airport, linking it to more than 90 international
airports. Over the past year a number of new airlines
were attracted by the airport's strategic location
and first-class facilities. ''During 1998, we signed
agreements with two charter airlines, Britannia
and LTU, under which they will utilize Abu Dhabi
for their technical stopovers and as a transit point
during flights between Europe and the Far East,
'' he says.
number of new airlines also began operations out
of Abu Dhabi during 1998. These included Shaheen
Air, Air Maldives, Air Afrique and Czech Airlines.
Their entry has added northern Pakistan, the Maldives,
West Africa and Mauritania to the countries and
regions connected to Abu Dhabi and increased the
choice and flexibility of routes available to passengers.
Mohairbi is confident that the major expansion under
way in all aspects of the airport will confirm Abu
Dhabi's role as both a major transit point and a
major destination for the Gulf and the wider Middle
East region well into the 21st century. ''Once our
airport expansion program is complete,'' he says,
''Abu Dhabi International Airport will be offering
services in keeping with the promise of the new