Sharjah airport soars to a new high

Sharjah airport soars to a new highImage Credit: Supplied

Sharjah International Airport has witnessed a 12 per cent growth in passenger traffic last year and is on course to meet its target of handling 25 million passengers by 2025.

Visitors passing through Sharjah airport increased from 8.5 million in 2013 to 9.5 million in 2014. A total of 70,559 flights took off and landed at the airport during 2014, showing an increase of 6.5 percent in air traffic compared to 2013.

The emirate holds the distinction of having the first airport in the UAE when a flight of the Imperial Airways took off from here in 1932. The erstwhile Sharjah airport served as a stopover for flights taking off from England en route to India and Australia. The old airport was dismantled while the existing one has been operational since 1977.

Last year, the airport underwent a facelift with a new runway being added. This has enabled big passenger aircraft like Airbus 380, Boeing 747-800 and cargo aircraft like Antonov 225 to land and take off from the airport. Along with the new runway, eight new link taxiways and two high-speed runway exits were constructed.

The new runway is also equipped with modern aeronautical lighting and airfield systems, which will increase safety standards and allow operations in reduced levels of visibility during fog (CAT II). Around Dh500 million was spent on upgrading the facilities at the existing airport. A feasibility report on building a second passenger terminal at the airport is currently being prepared.

It is estimated that the aviation industry will contribute around 15 per cent of the national gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of 2016. Current statistics suggest it currently accounts for 12 per cent of the UAE's GDP.

Handy Hints:

• Sharjah airport posted a 12% growth in passenger traffic in 2014

• It underwent a major upgrade with a new runway being added

• Plan of building a second passenger terminal is in the pipeline

Read about the expansion at Dubai World Central airport which is gaining speed

Source: S. Dhar, Special to Properties

The writer is a freelancer


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