In a testament to the rise of the UAE capital as a major destination for both business and leisure tourism, Abu Dhabi International Airport has recently been rated the fastest growing airport in hub connectivity in the world.
The ranking came in the annual Airport Industry Connectivity Report 2017, published by Airports Council International (ACI) in December.
According to its findings, the hub has registered a growth in hub connectivity of more than 1,479 percent between 2007 and 2017. This far exceeds the growth rate of major international airports in Europe and North America. Three of the top 20 fastest growing hubs are from the Gulf, with Abu Dhabi in first palace, and Dubai in the same group.
Acting Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, Abdul Majeed Al Khoori, said: “The ACI report comes at a crucial time when Abu Dhabi International Airport is embarking on a mega expansion move, which adds to our conviction that the Midfield Terminal Building will further support Abu Dhabi’s position as a global hub for air transport.
“Since the establishment of Abu Dhabi Airports in 2006, the strategy was to develop hub connectivity that will serve the airport, the national carrier and the region, by providing world class and highly efficient airport infrastructure, which is able to cater to our local and international airlines and their passengers.”
“In 2007 Abu Dhabi International Airport saw 3,237,011 transfer and transit passengers, a number that grew to 15,853,770 in 2016. Such significant change has largely been as a result of the growth in the national Carrier, Etihad Airways and its expanded network and increased connectivity.
“Abu Dhabi’s ideal location, and vibrant economy also play a vital role in attracting airlines and passengers to pass through its gateway. In that respect, Abu Dhabi Airports works closely and continuously with all its stakeholders to ensure their needs, plans and strategies are supported with a strong infrastructure and facilities that will take their services to new heights,” he concluded.
Hub connectivity, as defined in the ACI report, measures the number of connecting flights, direct and indirect, that can be facilitated through an airport taking into account minimum and maximum connecting times.
Marking a major extension to the current airport’s facilities, Abu Dhabi’s new AED10-billion Midfield Terminal is due to open in the last quarter of 2019, bringing an increased 84 million annual passenger capacity, as well as 35,000 square metres of duty-free shops, dining and entertainment.
Abu Dhabi International Airport was the first airport in the region to join Airports Council International, the trade association of the world’s airports, and in 2016 won the two awards of Best Airport in the Middle East, and Most Improved Airport: Middle East to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Abu Dhabi Airports’ membership in the council.