Following the success of the expansion projects at Abu Dhabi completed in 2002, which included a new 4,100m runway and taxiway, a new satellite terminal, a rapid transit shuttle and a series of 18 new aircraft stands that cost nearly $230m, the passenger traffic was recognised to be more than the airport could handle comfortably.
Consequently the Abu Dhabi Department of Civil Aviation in conjunction with the Supervision Committee for the Expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport (SCADIA) began, in 2004, to work on a more ambitious expansion plan to transform Abu Dhabi International Airport into a major transport hub for the Middle East for both cargo and passengers.
In August 2006 Abu Dhabi International, along with all of the other airports in the country were privatised and placed under the auspices of the Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) (with a share value of AED500m). ADAC will now oversee all of the work relating to the new midfield terminal development and further expansion of airport facilities.
"Abu Dhabi Airport was used by 6.7 million passengers in 2006".
In December 2006 Changi Airport of Singapore was awarded a management and operations contract for Abu Dhabi International Airport. In January 2007 Changi was also retained as a consultant to advise ADAC on its ongoing expansion plan at the airport. Changi Airport is the operations and consulting subsidiary of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.
The airport was used by over 3.4 million passengers in 1998. By 2004 this had increased to 5.2 million, to 5.4 million in 2005 and 6.7 million in 2006. Figures for 2007 have showed the passenger numbers at 6.9 million, up 31% year-on-year. Projections for 2010 expect ten million passengers a year. Cargo volume also had a strong showing in 2007 with an increase of 22% to 315,317t.
The number of airlines using the airport has increased over the last five years as have the number of flights and range of international destinations. The authorities responsible for the airport at the time recognised this growth and put into action two plans to increase its capacity.
The first phase of the expansion project (AED300m) included the construction of two new terminal buildings with a capacity of three million passengers a year. These were completed within six months of being designed and opened in September 2005 (built as a quick fix to the capacity problems at the airport). The terminals are designated terminal 1A (8,000m² with a capacity one million passengers a year) and terminal 2 (12,000m² with a capacity of two million passengers a year). The first phase also included nine aircraft hard standings.
Phase two of the expansion, which began in late 2006 for completion in 2010, includes the construction of a new super-sized midfield terminal building, along with a second parallel 4,100m runway, a new aircraft control tower and new cargo facilities (with a handling capacity of two million tons a year).
"When the new facilities are complete, the existing airport will be phased out".
This massive development is expected to cost $6.8bn and will take place to the north of the existing airport.
Additional plans have also been made for a 12km circular rail transport system having 19 stops and linking Abu Dhabi with the airport and also the free trade zones instigated as part of the airport expansion.
The development is essentially a new airport. When the new facilities are complete the existing airport will be phased out. The new mega midfield terminal complex will be capable of handling 20 million passengers a year initially and then later, as Abu Dhabi develops as a major Middle East transport hub, up to 50 million passengers a year (this should provide major competition to Dubai International airport).
The project is expected to double the existing area of the airport to 34km² with buffer zones to the north and south. The project will provide a top-quality home base for the United Arab Emirates national carrier Etihad Airways.
An ADAC spokesman commented "The new airport will showcase the UAE's cultural, environmental and economic achievements. It will feature architecturally innovative and operationally efficient facilities offering world-class service to both Etihad Airways and the other airlines, those who have already established a presence at Abu Dhabi as well as others who are planning to follow suit".
All of the plans were ratified by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in late 2005.
The new 12,000m² terminal 2, which opened in September 2005, now services 12 airlines. The terminal, although a relatively temporary measure, still cost $30m to construct (along with terminal 1A) and is complete with baggage handling system with in-line security screening facility, Flight Information Display System (FIDS), security surveillance and access control, 1,000m² of duty free and cafeterias, business class lounge, e-gate and iris scan.
In addition Terminal 2 also has a dedicated first and business class lounge, 18 check-in counters and 20 arrival and eight departure passport booths; the facility was designed to maximise passenger comfort and flow during both arrival and departure.
The new Terminal 1A has been dedicated to Gulf Traveller, which currently operates to 45 destinations from Abu Dhabi, with its fleet of twin-engine, Boeing 767-300 short- to medium-range narrow-bodied aircraft.
This 5,000m² facility has an annual capacity of one million passengers with nine check-in counters, fast and efficient baggage processing systems, dedicated passport control booths, two departure gates and a spacious departure lounge. There are also duty free and retail areas offering a wide choice of goods.
"Terminal 2 has a dedicated first and business class lounge".
A further $27.2m has also been committed for the construction of nine new Code E/F aircraft hard stands (with 400MHz power supplies), the first phase of which became operational in late 2005, including two stands designed to handle the new, next-generation Airbus A380 double-decker airliner.
Other key aspects of the project completed in the last six months are the design of remote aircraft stands complete with airfield ground lighting and hydrant fuel.
Work is now complete on a new state-of-the-art, five-million-passenger-capacity concourse expansion in the original airport terminal for the exclusive use of Etihad Airways. In March 2008 Etihad will move into the new facility.
Ethiad is expecting to handle around six million passengers in 2008, which is an increase of around 30% over 2007 figures. Part of the reason for this may be the launch of the airlines new Beijing service at the end of March 2008, which will be its first Chinese route.
The concourse (effectively a new third terminal), boasting eight gates, two of which are capable of handling wide-bodied aircraft like the A380, will accommodate the airline's expected growth until 2010, when the new mega midfield terminal is opened.
SCADIA has performed an environmental impact assessment at the proposed site for the new midfield mega terminal and has started translocation of a spiny lizard, indigenous to this region, to a new habitat.
Excavation has also begun on three possible pre-Islamic archaeological sites, while work is also underway on the transplanting of a forest to the new northern boundary of the site for noise and visual screening.
One of the first parts of the project will be the construction of a second category III runway 2,000m north of the current runway. The new 4,100m parallel runway and taxiway will be able to cater for the latest generation of aircraft such as the Airbus A380. Cargo, maintenance facilities, free trade zones, catering and other commercial developments will be constructed between the two runways.
"Projections for 2010 expect ten million passengers per year".
The new runway, designed by Halcrow, will be completed and in operation by 2008. The development master plan also includes a large (mega) terminal building, a new 110m Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower, a cargo and logistics centre, a commercial area incorporating a free zone and associated retail development.
It is planned in two phases with the first phase having a capacity to handle 20 million passengers per annum by 2010. The airport master plan was designed by Skidmore Owings and Merrill LLP (SOM) of the US. Parsons International of the US has been designated as the project manager.
Some of the other contractors for the project include Besix Group (general construction), Al Jaber Energy Services and GHD.
At the heart of Dubai World Central is Al Maktoum International Airport - which will be the worlds largest passenger and cargo hub and capable of handling all new generation aircraft.
At the heart of Dubai World Central is Al Maktoum International Airport - which will be the world's largest passenger and cargo hub with a design capacity of over 12 million tonnes of cargo a year and in excess of 120 million passengers annually and capable of handling all new generation aircraft, including the A380 superjumbo.
The airport, which will be 10 times the size of the current Dubai International Airport and Dubai Cargo Village combined, will have six parallel runways and as many concourses with a 91 metre high control tower that will be an aviation landmark and tallest freestanding ATC tower in the Middle East.
The ATC control tower will be fully equipped with the latest in avionics and navigational aids.
Al Maktoum International Airport will also boast hotels and shopping malls, support facilities and state-of-the-art maintenance facilities which will create a regional maintenance hub capable of all checks on all aircraft, including the A380.
The airport will be linked to the existing, award-winning Dubai International Airport (DXB) via an express rail system and ultimately will be serviced by the Dubai Light Railway Network (Dubai Metro). Some 100,000 car parking spaces will be available for airport parking and car rental services.
The first runway at Al Maktoum International Airport has been completed on time in the projected 600 days - an aviation record for the fastest A380 enabled 4.5 kilometre CAT III runway construction.
The AED1 billion runway is the first tender to be fully executed within Dubai World Central project.
The AED100 million first Passenger Terminal will cater to low-cost, regional and charter airlines is over 50 per cent complete.
The terminal will cater to seven million passengers annually and take considerable load off Dubai International Airport (DXB).
Other airport structures being built are AED278 million Cargo Terminal; AED143 million Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower; AED908 million aprons and associated taxiways; AED108 million Fuel Farms; and AED120 million navigational aids package.
Aviation city will host end-to-end manufacturing, maintenance, research, training and other facilities leading the region in aviation services, excellent quality infrastructure and hi-tech research.
Aviation City is set to play a vital role in bringing together at one place, the best of companies, businesses, consultancy majors, MRO organizations, professionals and skill sets from around the world to cater to the growing aviation demands of the region and the world at large.
With Dubai's project investments in aviation, tourism, commercial and logistics industries to exceed US$33 billion, Aviation City will host end-to-end manufacturing, maintenance, research, training and other facilities leading the region in aviation services, excellent quality infrastructure and hi-tech research.
Aviation City, spread over 6.7 square kilometres, is being designed as a one-stop centre for all aviation-related operations.
Among the components of the Aviation City are the world's largest Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) centre at an investment of AED5 billion; Heliport Zone; Educational and Academic Zone; Industrial Zone and a hub for aircraft component and parts supply.
Construction on Aviation City has already commenced, with start of operations planned for the year 2009. Al Maktoum International Airport, which is designed to handle in excess of 120 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo annually, goes live with initial operations by the end of 2008.
Dubai Logistics City (DLC), which is the world's first truly integrated multi-modal logistics platform is central to Dubai's business proposition as a global and regional hub for integrated supply chain management and multi-modal transport.
DLC is designed as the region's unchallenged logistics hub catering to some two billion people throughout the Middle East, Indian Sub-continent, Africa and the CIS, all within three-to-four hours flying time from Dubai.
The project encompasses all transportation modes, logistics and value added services, such as kitting and assembly, in a single bonded and free zone environment.
Spanning 25 square kilometres, DLC is designed to ultimately handle 12 million tonnes of air cargo annually in up to 22 air cargo terminals.
Dubai Logistics City will also have its own aviation area, offering direct apron access and a dedicated staff village accommodating up to 40,000 workers in purpose-built surroundings.
Dubai Logistics City will also have state-of-the-art office buildings, land plots for dedicated industrial business, trading companies, distributors, logistics service providers and forwarders, shared facilities, such as warehouses and modern air-side cargo handling facilities.