The number of passengers passing through Abu Dhabi International Airport is forecast to rise by more than 11 per cent to 12 million in 2011 from 10.8 million in 2010, the MEED Abu Dhabi Conference was told on 15 November.

This is increasing pressure on the terminal capacity at the airport.

“We need to have capacity to handle 8-9 million more passengers in the present facilities by 2017 when the new midfield terminal complex opens,” Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) chief development officer Haytham Haidar said. He said that the opening of the new air traffic control tower in April this year means that the airport’s air-side capacity is already sufficient.

“From an air-side perspective, we already have the capacity to handle 70 million passengers a year,” Haidar said.

Bids from six consortiums for the contract to build the new midfield terminal complex were received on 13 November. The award of the contract is expected in the first quarter of 2012.  The project is scheduled for completion in 2017. Its design capacity is 27.5 million passengers.