Al Bateen Executive Airport reopens after major upgrade


Al Bateen ramp

Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi has reopened following the completion of a major airport upgrade project.

The most important upgrade was the widening of the runway and this will allow the airport to handle larger VIP aircraft.

Other works undertaken since the private jet facility closed for all but helicopters on 11th May include a substantial new boundary wall, runway resurfacing, upgraded ground lighting, enhanced signage and landscaping.

“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 Airport. “Everything you can see and touch is being enhanced.”

Airport ushers in new era

The refurbishments mark a new era for an airport that was the first modern international facility in Abu Dhabi.

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.

But it was clear even by the 1970s that demand in Abu Dhabi was likely to necessitate a much larger facility.

“Al Bateen is at the heart of Abu Dhabi and on the island, so expansion would be limited. The leadership foresaw the airport [needed] to be moved away from[the] island,” Mr Al Suwaidi said.

The current main airport opened in 1982 to cater for increased demand, and, in the years since, Al Bateen functioned as a military base before becoming a dedicated airport for private jets.

The Abu Dhabi Air Expo is being held at Al Bateen between 1st and 3rd November 2022.