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Sharjah airport holds a special place in the aviation history of the UAE. The first commercial flight to the country carrying four passengers from the United Kingdom touched down at the runway then located on King Abdul Aziz Street. This was in 1932 and, in the last 82 years, the UAE's aviation sector has undergone some dramatic transformations.
Sharjah airport may have lost its pride of place to Abu Dhabi and Dubai but the authorities are looking at regaining part of its lost glory and significance.
As part of the revamp, a 4,060-meter long and 60-meter wide new runway will come up. This will help bigger aircrafts like A380s to operate from there. The closure of part of the runaways at the Dubai International Airport has meant that the Sharjah International Airport has stepped in to handle extra flights and passengers. Every week, around 200 extra flights have been landing and taking off from Sharjah. According to estimates, the airport has witnessed over 10 per cent annual rise in the number of passengers.
Around 8,505,268 passengers checked in to the airport in 2013, a jump of around one million passengers from 2012. The authorities are now getting the infrastructure in place to handle around 14 million passengers by 2017.
Recently, a new terminal for private jet users at the airport was unveiled. As part of its first phase of construction, a hangar and aircraft maintenance facilities have also been made available. Sharjah International Airport is smaller than Dubai and Abu Dhabi with less air traffic, and this helps in faster take-offs and landings for private jets.
To ensure the growth of the emirate as an aviation hub, the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone is looking to attract companies involved in aircraft spare parts and maintenance.
• New runways will be built at the Sharjah International Airport
• Annual number of passengers is set to touch 14 million by 2017
• A new terminal for private jets has been unveiled at the airport
Source: S. Dhar, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer