UAE to invest US$ 23 bn in various airport development and expansion projects

Posted on 9th July 2018

UAE to invest US$ 23 bn in various airport development and expansion projects
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According to *Khaleej Times news report, the UAE is investing Dh85 billion (US$ 23 billion) in various airport development and expansion projects that will see its airports develop a combined capacity to handle more than 300 million passengers a year.

The airport projects under way include Dh30 billion in developing Al Maktoum International Airport, Dh28 billion expansion of phase four of Dubai International Airport and Dh25 billion for the development and expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport - many of which are supported by banks and financial institutions. In addition, Sharjah International Airport is also undergoing a Dh1.5 billion investment in expansion of its terminal.

The ongoing airport developments will help the UAE's four national carriers, with a combined fleet size of 502 aircraft to serve more than 75 million passengers annually, according to organisers of the first Global Investment in Aviation Summit (GIAS) - a major aviation conference - taking place in January 2019.

The three-day event will be attended by the world's 500 top aviation finance, aviation asset managers, aircraft lessors, investors, airlines, aircraft manufacturers, maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities, aviation logistics suppliers and fixed-base operators, as the UAE emerges as the region's biggest aviation hubs.

Currently, the UAE has 14 airports, airstrips and airfields served by 113 airlines with a total annual take-offs and landings exceeding 540,000.

In addition to these, the four UAE airlines are also investing billions of dollars in acquiring the latest aircraft models that will help the UAE economy to grow. All these developments need funding and the financial institutions and investors are also expanding their capabilities to support the economic growth.

Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, director-general of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, said UAE airlines and airports have been ranking consistently as among the best internationally. On a compliance level, the UAE ranked as a top member state of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

"The Global Investment in Aviation Summit is UAE's testament on how far we have achieved and of our commitment to push the nation to be a global pioneer in this field. The glass ceiling is not too high to break as we have mounted unimaginable innovations," Al Suwaidi said at a Press conference announcing the event.

"Yet, looking forward, we know that we can still do more. In fact, conservatively, we anticipate accommodating 118 million passengers by 2023 at Dubai International Airport, and 120 million passengers upon completion of phase two of Dubai World Central, and 200 million passengers upon its completion, all in ultra-modern infrastructure that match, if not surpass, the best in the world."

The combined fleet size of the four UAE airlines reached 502, including Emirates fleet of 268, Etihad Airways' 120, flydubai's 61 and Air Arabia's 53. UAE airlines add between four to five aircraft per month and the total combined fleet size of the UAE's four airlines would cross 525 by the end of 2018. They have more than 300 more aircraft on order to join their fleets. "The UAE is the largest airline market and aviation hub in the Middle East and North Africa and it is still the most vibrant market where the airlines are adding new aircraft every month to their fleet," Al Suwaidi said.

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