The facility closed on the 11 May so that major upgrades could be carried out
Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi has reopened following the completion of extensive upgrades that included widening of the runway to accommodate larger aircraft
Other improvements include a substantial new boundary wall, runway resurfacing, upgraded ground lighting, enhanced signage and landscaping.
Matar Al Suwaidi, senior vice-president of terminal operations at Abu Dhabi Airports, said: “It has been a major project involving different elements of the airport. Everything you can see and touch is being enhanced.”
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Al Bateen opened in the late 1960s to cater for a surge in people arriving into Abu Dhabi after oil was found. It replaced the sand airstrip, had a distinctive concrete-roofed terminal and even gave its name to Airport Road, which has since been renamed Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Street.
By the 1970s it was clear that demand in Abu Dhabi was likely to require a much larger facility located outside of the city centre. The emirate’s current main airport opened in 1982, and, in the years since, Al Bateen functioned as a military base before becoming a dedicated airport for private jets.
Though the executive airport will still serve as a base for private jets, the completion of the project means that it will change from what’s classified as a 4C airport to a 4D airport. This is because it can now handle twin-aisle jets, such as Boeing 767s, whereas before it could only accommodate single-aisle aircraft such as Boeing 737s or Airbus A320s.
Al Bateen can accommodate 50 parked jets and it is used by government delegations, business people and high-net-worth individuals who prize discretion and don’t want the hassle of flying through a main airport.
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According to Al Suwaidi, there is a very high demand for private jet facilities. He added: "The business model is you have more privacy and the distance from the moment you get off the plane and into the car is 100 metres.”
The airport can also accommodate helicopters and serves as a base for Abu Dhabi Police, a search-and-rescue service and private operators.
For more information, visit www.albateenairport.ae