The investment seems to be having positive effect. Three operators—Falcon Aviation, Rotana Jet and AJA—now base 11 aircraft at Al Bateen, comprising four Embraer Legacy 650s, two Embraer Lineage 1000s, two Gulfstream G450s, two Airbus ACJs and several helicopters. Those and transient aircraft accounted for 8,700 movements in 2011, which increased by more than 10% to nearly 10,000 last year. The airport operator anticipates the number of movements, along with the number of based aircraft will increase further in 2013.
In addition to its importance as a financial center, Abu Dhabi is becoming a cultural, tourist and vacation destination, with a number of museums under development, along with marinas, resort hotels and attractions and events such as Formula 1 racing. In fact, the Emirates has announced plans to invest $500 billion diversifying its economy and infrastructure “in the next few years.” All that impacts airport activity. For example, during the race event last November, there were more than 40 aircraft parked at Al Bateen and the airport experienced move than 150 movements.
And, according to Yousif Hassan Al Hammadi, general manager for Al Bateen and two other smaller ADAC airports, the former is becoming a draw for aviation events as well. The inaugural Abu Dhabi Air Expo, the region's only general aviation event, was held there last year. He says the second, planned for March 5-7, will have more visitors, exhibitors and display aircraft, likely to range from light sport models to intercontinental jets.
The airport operator notes that the UAE accounts for one-third of all aircraft in service or on order in the Middle East, pretty much ensuring Al Bateen's future.