The facility had been closed to all aircraft except helicopters since 11 May 2022
Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi has recommenced operations following the completion of a major upgrade project, which included the widening of the runway to accommodate larger aircraft. Other works undertaken included a substantial new boundary wall, runway resurfacing, upgraded ground lighting, enhanced signage and landscaping. The facility had been closed to all aircraft except helicopters since 11 May 2022.
“It has been a major project involving different elements of the airport,” said Matar Al Suwaidi, Senior Vice President of Terminal Operations at Abu Dhabi Airports. “Everything you can see, and touch is being enhanced.”
The refurbishments mark a new era for an airport that was the first modern international facility in Abu Dhabi, he added. The work on the runway will see it change from a 4C to a 4D, which in airport terminology means that it will be able to handle twin aisle jets, such as Boeing 767s, whereas before it could only accommodate single aisle planes such as Boeing 737s or Airbus A320s.
In June 2022, Dubai Airports completed the the rehabilitation of its Northern Runway.
Opened in the 1960s to cater for a surge of people arriving in Abu Dhabi after oil was found, Al Bateen has gone through several upgrades and refurbishments throughout its history, having also functioned as a military base before becoming a dedicated airport for private jets.
The facility is also getting ready to host Abu Dhabi Air Expo from 1 to 3 November, an event that is expected to attract more than 18,000 visitors and host more than 300 manufacturers and suppliers.
However, the works alone do not award the certification, and final approval from the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority are still pending. “It is not a switch-on and switch-off decision,” Al Suwaidi said. “There is documentation to provide and testing to conclude. It will take some time.”
In May, NEOM and Saudia announced plans to kick off weekly air service to international destinations.
He added that there are also plans in place to rename the three existing terminals before the end of the year as part of a branding initiative to further boost the airport. “There is a very high demand for a private jet facility,” Al Suwaidi said.
Al Bateen can accommodate 50 parked jets and the people who use the facility include government delegations, business people and high-net-worth individuals from across the world, he revealed. The airport can also accommodate helicopters, with Abu Dhabi Police, a search-and-rescue service and private operator among those based there.
“The business model is you have more privacy and from the moment you get off the plane at Bateen and into the car is just 100m,” he added. “Some people are not interested in going to the duty free and from one terminal to another. Here everything is done in one place. A one-stop shop.”
A cost for the works was not disclosed, while final tests are now being carried out, the statement concluded.
In January 2022, Kuwait announced plans for a new airport in the northern area of the city.