In his first media appearance as CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) in the Middle East, Bryan Thompson shared insights on the current strategy, as well as updates on some of its key developments.
In particular, the CEO shared an update on the ongoing $3bn Midfield Terminal Building (MTB) development that is scheduled for completion by the fourth quarter of 2019. While not sharing a definitive launch date for MTB nor confirming if everything will be set for Q42019, Thompson did share that operational tests of the facility were underway.
He went on to emphasise that currently “there is no capacity drive to move to MTB at the moment,” but shared that “in the south side, we have an airport that’s operating, it has got enough capacity to operate.”
“We don’t want to let Abu Dhabi down when we open the Midfield. We want to be 100% ready, for ourselves and the airline to present Abu Dhabi in the best light,” added Thompson.
Featuring 65 aircraft gates, 700,000 square metres of internal space, as well as a 27-kilometre long baggage handling system capable of processing 19,000 bags per hour, MTB will reportedly be visible from more than 1.5km away once completed.
Once launched, Midfield Terminal will be a critical component in ADAC’s plans to target traffic growth of an additional 1.4 million passengers, on top of the current annual traffic of 7.7 million passengers travelling to Abu Dhabi International, by 2021.
"We have seen that shift in terms of an increase in origin and destination traffic, which is good for Abu Dhabi. It creates more visitors that stay in the city itself. It's not a huge shift but we have seen an increase in passengers starting to spend more time here," said Thompson.
ADAC’s CEO went on to briefly discuss some of the latest developments with its free zone, an area where the airport authority is actively encouraging would-be stakeholders to invest.
In order to draw investors, ADAC has reduced its standing fees by 66% since last year and has emphasised the fact that organisations entering the free zone will benefit from the tax-free environment will no charges in both imports and exports.
Thompson added that ADAC is moving to draw investors from within the hospitality and retail markets for its Airport City district, which is located adjacent to the Midfield Terminal.
For the full story on the roundtable with Bryan Thompson, look to Aviation Business’ upcoming April edition.