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Zayed International Airport served 117 travel destinations in December 2023, an increase of 20% from 100 cities in 2022. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Airports’ passenger traffic hit close to 23 million in 2023, marking a 44.5 per cent increase in demand compared to 2022, signalling a resurgence in demand for international travel.

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“A total of 22,935,316 passengers flew through one of Abu Dhabi’s five commercial airports throughout January 1 to December 31, marking a 44.5 per cent increase in demand compared to 2022,” Abu Dhabi Airports’ announced on February 9.

These figures were released amid the official opening ceremony of the Airport’s new Terminal A, which has been operational since November 2023. The airport was also officially renamed Zayed International Airport on Friday – in honour of UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Since late last year, all Abu Dhabi International Airport flights have operated out of Terminal A, while the former terminals have been closed.

4.48 million passengers in 60 days

According to airport authorities, the new airport terminal welcomed 4.48 million passengers in its first 60 days since becoming fully operational on November 15, 2023. There were 1.21 million arrivals, 1.22 million departures, two million transfers and more than 24,000 flights during this time.

Zayed International Airport served 117 travel destinations in December 2023, an increase of 20 per cent from 100 cities in 2022 due to a rapidly growing airline network of 28 international carriers. The new terminal is capable of accommodating 45 million passengers per year.

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A total of 28 international carriers operate out of Zayed International Airport Image Credit: Supplied

“The year also saw growth in other critical business areas, including Air Traffic Movements (ATMs) across the five airports. The total number of ATMs, referring to the landing or taking-off of an aircraft, reached 226,362, surpassing the 2022 figure of 194,666 and reflecting a 16.3 per cent increase year-on-year,” airport authorities have said.

“In 2024 and beyond, Abu Dhabi Airports expects further growth in passenger and cargo traffic, with Zayed International Airport’s enhanced aviation offering central to this positive outlook,” the statement added.

New beginnings

Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Advisor of Special Affairs at the Presidential Court and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Airports’ Board of Directors, attended the ceremony to rename Abu Dhabi International Airport as Zayed International Airport.

Sheikh Tahnoon Al Nahyan said: “Opening its gates to the world, Zayed International Airport ushers in a new era for Abu Dhabi’s aviation sector. The airport’s state-of-the-art infrastructure delivers exceptional connectivity, innovation and sustainability for an elevated guest experience while propelling regional tourism, trade, and commerce to new heights.”

Meanwhile, Elena Sorlini, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Abu Dhabi Airports said, “I am particularly proud that since its opening, Terminal A‘s operations have been very successful.”

The launch of Zayed International Airport’s new brand was accompanied by video highlights of over 1,750 drones coming together in an air display to form the airport’s new logo.