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Abu Dhabi Airport posts 39.2% YTD increase in passengers

3.5m passengers through Abu Dhabi in first five months

Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), the owner-operator of Abu Dhabi International Airport (ADIA), today released its latest traffic figures with year-to-date (YTD) passenger numbers revealing a 39.2 percent increase over the same period last year. Abu Dhabi International Airport ADAC also revealed that over 3.5 million passengers travelled through the airport during the first five-month period of the year. "Passenger traffic from January through May has largely matched the steady mid-thirty percentile growth rate we have been witnessing at Abu Dhabi Airport in line with managed and anticipated projections," said Rudy Vercelli, ADAC’s chief executive officer. With growth still largely attributed to the airport’s home airline – Etihad Airways – and its increasing network of new destinations and frequencies, figures for the month of May alone showed a slight departure from the airport’s more recent growth rates by posting a solid 56.2 percent increase compared to the same month in 2007. However ADAC officials are keen to place May’s impressive growth figures in the context of the other influencing factors including the residual effects Gulf Air’s withdrawal from Abu Dhabi Airport had while Etihad was establishing its operations and network. Vercelli explains: "The transition of a major home-based airline departing and a new one starting up is a rare occurrence at an airport and will obviously have an impact on our numbers. "The occasional peaks in growth rates can be as much to do with services returning to original capacity after a previous year’s lull as much as it is to do with the overall and steady growth rates Abu Dhabi Airport is experiencing by successfully delivering on its commercial agenda." Other figures for the month of May showed an increase in aircraft movements, which were up 15.1 percent, with cargo tonnage handled by the airport up 20.2 percent over May last year – YTD figures revealing an equally healthy 16.4 percent increase or 141,524 tons. Figures also revealed in ADAC’s monthly traffic report included the top five city destinations served from Abu Dhabi in May, representing 17.1 percent of the total passengers through the airport: Doha (31,296), London (25,486), Cairo (23,656), Bahrain (20,018) and Manila (18,215). As a whole, the Indian market currently remains the largest and most active to and from the UAE capital with figures further revealing that both India and Saudi Arabia are primary drivers of growth. The month of May saw a 50.32 percent increase of passengers to and from India and 51.01 percent increase in traffic between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, largely due to the success of Etihad and the new Jet Airways, Sama Airlines and Nas Air routes now operating to these key destinations. "Demand continues to grow for routes which terminate at or transit through Abu Dhabi International Airport, and we are pleased to note the latest figures demonstrate this trend. "We confidently expect passenger and cargo figures to continue their growth as demand for travel to or through Abu Dhabi continues its upward climb. Our challenge is to respond to this growth by continually investing in and expanding Abu Dhabi International Airport to meet the demand," added Vercelli. In line with this expansion, Terminal 3, due to be fully operational by the end of October this year will add an additional five million capacity to Abu Dhabi Airport, taking total capacity to 12 million per year. With thousands of square metres of additional retail space offering premium brands not available in other duty free outlets in the region, along with additional immigration and handling facilities, passengers can soon expect a new and enhanced travel experience out of the UAE capital.

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