Abu Dhabi races towards 10 million passengers thanks to Etihad; first F1 race in November

Image: Disembarking
Etihad accounts for more than 60% of scheduled capacity at Abu Dhabi. In the two years since anna.aero launched, the airport has seen 30 new services start, more than half of which were launched by Etihad. Most recently, it launched services to Larnaca; a Chicago service begins in September.

Located just 115 kilometres from Dubai airport, Abu Dhabi still has a long way to go to catch up its neighbour in terms of passenger traffic figures. However, in the last five years it has seen traffic more than double from under 4.5 million passengers to just over nine million last year. The majority of this growth has been driven by the creation in 2003 of the UAE’s national airline Etihad, which launched commercial flights in November 2003. It currently serves 53 destinations non-stop from Abu Dhabi.

Chart: Traffic
Source: ADAC

However, although Etihad now dominates the airport’s operations and accounts for over 60% of scheduled capacity at the airport a total of 30 other airlines also operate to and from Abu Dhabi. These airlines include European flag carriers (British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines), Asian carriers (Jet Airways, PIA, Singapore Airlines) as well as regional rivals such as Egyptair, Gulf Air, Oman Air and Royal Jordanian). At present the airport is not served by any US carriers though Etihad does offer daily flights to New York JFK.

Image: Man City and Etihad
Etihad has signed a three-year deal to be the official shirt sponsor and partner of Premier League side Manchester City – the ‘richest club in the world’ after it was bought by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan last summer.

30 new services in the last two years

Since anna.aero launched two years ago the airport has seen over 30 new services start, over half of which Etihad has been responsible for.

Airline Destination Start date
Etihad Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) 30 May 07
Etihad Dublin (DUB) 02 Jul 07
Etihad Milan Malpensa (MXP) 02 Sep 07
Etihad Brisbane (BNE) via Singapore 27 Sep 07
Etihad Singapore (SIN) 27 Sep 07
Etihad Kathmandu (KTM) 21 Oct 07
Sama Dammam (DMM) 15 Nov 07
Sama Riyadh (RUH) 15 Nov 07
Flyyeti.com Kathmandu (KTM) 06 Feb 08
Etihad Beijing (PEK) 30 Mar 08
Etihad Kozhikode (CCJ) 01 Aug 08
Etihad Chennai (MAA) 01 Aug 08
Etihad Minsk (MSQ) 05 Aug 08
Airblue Lahore (LHE) 02 Sep 08
PIA Sialkot (SKT) 26 Oct 08
Etihad Moscow Domodedovo (DME) 01 Dec 08
Etihad Almaty (ALA) 02 Dec 08
Bahrain Air Bahrain (BAH) 29 Mar 09
Etihad Melbourne (MEL) 29 Mar 09
PIA Rahim Yar Khan (RYK) 01 Apr 09
Sun Air Khartoum (KRT) 16 Apr 09
Air India Express Chennai (MAA) 30 Apr 09
Air India Express Tiruchirapally (TRZ) 30 Apr 09
JAT Airways Belgrade (BEG) via Larnaca 05 May 09
Etihad Astana (TSE) 07 May 09
Safi Airways Kabul (KBL) 16 May 09
Etihad Istanbul (IST) 01 Jun 09
Etihad Athens (ATH) 02 Jun 09
Etihad Larnaca (LCA) 14 Jun 09
BlueWings Düsseldorf (DUS) 15 Jun 09
BlueWings Berlin Tegel (TXL) 17 Jun 09
Etihad Chicago O’Hare (ORD) 01 Sep 09
Ukraine International Kiev (KBP) 25 Sep 09
Source: Airline news, anna.aero database

Chicago will become the airport’s second US destination when Etihad begins flights there in September. The only routes that Etihad has dropped from Abu Dhabi are London Gatwick (it managed to acquire sufficient slots to operate its triple daily flights to London Heathrow instead), and Colombo.

Image: Route launch
In June, Abu Dhabi-based Elite Aviation launched services to Düsseldorf (three times weekly) and Berlin (twice-weekly). The services are operated by Blue Wings.

Abu Dhabi to host final round of this year’s F1 championship

On 1 November Abu Dhabi will host the final race of this year’s F1 motor racing championship. It will be the first time the Emirate has held a race around the purpose built Yas Marina Circuit, very close to the airport, and will be known as the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The region first hosted a Grand Prix in 2004 when Bahrain staged a race.

Image: Terminal
A US$6.8 billion redevelopment programme is underway at Abu Dhabi International Airport; work is taking place on the Midfield Terminal Complex – due for completion in 2011, it will be Etihad’s new base.

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