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Abu Dhabi International Airport: Master Plan Update

Abu Dhabi

AIRPORT: Abu Dhabi International Airport

SPONSOR: Abu Dhabi Airports Company

In February 2014, Ricondo & Associates, Inc. (R&A) was selected by the Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) to serve as on-call planning consultant.  R&A’s first task under the on-call services contract was to update the Master Plan for Abu Dhabi International Airport. 

R&A completed the most recent update of the airport Master Plan in 2009.  Since then, both the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the Airport have experienced unprecedented growth.  The Emirate grew from a population of approximately 1.6 million in 2009 to 2.1 million in 2011, at a sustained average annual growth rate of 7.7 percent.  In concert with this growth, Etihad Airways announced a new order for 143 aircraft, in addition to previously placed orders, to accommodate demand for passenger and air cargo services throughout the region and around the world.  The size of Etihad’s fleet has more than quadrupled since 2006, at an average annual growth rate of 20 percent. 

The 2014 Master Plan Update will be an essential tool to help ADAC establish a comprehensive planning framework that will guide the additional airport development required to accommodate the significant growth of the Emirate and Etihad Airways over the long term.  R&A is working with stakeholders to identify future capacity needs, establish a conceptual framework to deliver balanced capacity in line with demand and the flexibility to adapt to changing needs, and safeguard land and land use to protect and preserve the ability of the airport to serve the needs of the Emirate far into the future.

Concurrent initiatives undertaken by ADAC include construction of a new Midfield Terminal Complex that will serve as the principal hub for Etihad Airways, expansion of the existing terminal complex on the south side of the airfield, expansion of cargo facilities, reconstruction of the southern portion of the airfield, including Runway 13R-31L, and planning for free trade zones in multiple areas of the airport.  The overall current airport development program is estimated to cost more than Dh26 billion (US$7 billion).  Additionally, ADAC is supporting regional planning studies that address improvements to transportation corridors around the airport, and participating with private corporations in planning major commercial and residential developments throughout the City and Emirate of Abu Dhabi.