A panoramic view of the Sharjah International Airport. The cargo traffic through the airport reached 99.6 thousand tonnes.
Inayat-ur-Rahman, Gulf Today
During the year 2020, the Sharjah Airport Authority continued implementing its ambitious plans and celebrated a number of achievements, including the completion of the East Expansion project, attracting new airlines, and introducing new flight routes, as well as launching numerous initiatives and partnerships.
Despite the challenges imposed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the effect it had on tourism, travel, and air freight traffic, the number of passengers through Sharjah Airport during the year 2020 reached 4.2 million, while aircraft movement (regular and irregular) recorded more than 33.2 thousand flights, while Cargo traffic through the airport reached 99.6 thousand tonnes, and the airport achieved an increase in the volume of non-scheduled flights by 635.9%, while the growth rate in the non-scheduled cargo movement increased by 54.6% compared to the previous year.
Ali Salim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Airport Authority, said: “Sharjah Airport continues to position itself on the global travel map with greater resilience and determination to achieve more record-breaking achievements, thanks to the support and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and continuous follow-up by Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of the Executive Council.”
Sharjah Airport Authority has worked to continue implementing its Emiratisation strategy in 2020, and increased its number of employees to reach 684 staff, including 443 UAE citizens by 64%, while the percentage of Emiratisation in leadership positions reached approximately 90%, and supervisory positions reached 71%.
Al Midfa added: “The success of Sharjah Airport in continuing to increase its capacity through expansion operations comes as a result of clear vision, a proactive strategy based on innovative solutions, and an advanced infrastructure. Today, we are more determined than ever to accelerate the revival of international travel by cooperating with and adhering to all directives issued by the concerned authorities, and we aspire to continue on this pioneering path of achieving the emirate’s strategic vision in economic development. “
On his part, Sheikh Faisal Bin Saoud Al Qassimi, Director of Sharjah Airport Authority, said, “We are proud of the results and successes achieved by Sharjah Airport during 2020, which were the outcome of all the great efforts made by all employees across the departments. Their commitment and cooperation with strategic partners had a major role in overcoming the challenges imposed by the emerging COVID-19 pandemic last year.”
Sheikh Faisel added: “Going forward, we are keen to continue adding to these successes and will be looking to upgrade the level of services provided by Sharjah Airport. This will be implemented through development processes and creating a work environment based on innovation, in line with advancements in the aviation sector and the travel market, both regionally and globally.”
He thanked all employees, travelers, and customers, in addition to airlines, freighters, strategic partners, cargo and travel agents, and private flight operators, for their confidence in Sharjah Airport and their use of its services and facilities.
During the year 2020, Sharjah Airport witnessed the implementation of many initiatives and community projects, in addition to welcoming new carriers to Sharjah Airport community, achieving many awards, and participating in national and international initiatives and events - all of which contributed to firming the airport’s position locally, regionally and globally.
Sharjah Airport Authority inaugurated the East Expansion project in October 2020, which extends over an area of 4000 square meters, at a total cost of 40 million Dirhams. The expansion is a valuable addition to the airport terminal and contributes to enhancing its capacity. The development also falls in line with the Authority’s long-term plans to raise the airport’s capacity to accommodate 20 million passengers by 2025. The project includes four new gates, contributing to ease the flow of passengers’ movement. It consists of two floors equipped with the latest and most innovative travel technologies and provides distinctive facilities that embody the airport’s commitment to providing the highest standards of services, in order to ensure the comfort and satisfaction of travelers.
Work commenced on the central utility building project, which is expected to be completed in the middle of 2022, and includes the airport operations coordination center, the call center, the data center and servers, the airport central cooling unit, the electrical supply, and water tanks.
The existing first & business class hall was completely renovated & redesigned, and a new concept was introduced called “The Lounge,” with the aim of improving the level of services offered to first & business class travelers. The new lounge which can accommodate more than 170 people is distinguished by its contemporary design aesthetics, and new facilities such as quiet areas for relaxation, and an interactive play area for children.