Airports and Seaports 
Air Safety Award
Emirates Group
Middle East Person of the Year Award 
Airline of the Year
Abu Dhabi ports
Sharjah’s ports
Dubai Ports Authority
Other emirates
Abu Dhabi ship building Company 
Adyard Abu Dhabi
Rig construction
Gulf Craft

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  Abu Dhabi Seaport Authority
Department of Ports & Customs - Dubai
Dubai Port Authority
Ports & Customs (SHJ Custom)
Sharjah Airport International Free Zone
Sharjah International Airport


Considering the important role that airports and ports play in economic progress it is no wonder that the UAE has developed a highly sophisticated air and sea network, with six major international airports and 15 modern, well-equipped seaports connecting the country to global markets. 


Abu Dhabi Civil Aviation Department was established 30 years ago, with the aim of promoting air transport in the emirate. The Department’s open skies policy is designed to assist the emirate to take a strong competitive position in the field of civil aviation at both a regional and international level. Abu Dhabi’s strategic location has also played a major role in helping it to become one of the most important traffic centers in the region and a vital crossroads between Europe and Asia. In addition to Abu Dhabi International Airport (ADIA), another international airport was opened in 1994 in Al Ain city to meet the increasing needs of the region and enhance economic and tourist development projects.

New city terminal

A new city terminal for air passengers was opened in Abu Dhabi in 1999, the first ever in the UAE and Gulf region. The terminal, which is provided with first-class facilities and services including duty-free shopping, is intended to facilitate checking-in procedures  . Passengers can check in at the city terminal up to eight hours prior to departure and report at the international airport approximately 35 minutes before departure. Passengers traveling with the local carrier Gulf Air may check in 24 hours before their flight leaves .

Abu Dhabi Airport

Studies indicate that the number of passengers using ADIA will exceed 7 million by the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century. Between 50 to 60 airlines are expected to use the airport, connecting it with approximately 70 other international airports. These projections have prompted the Civil Aviation Department to embark on a Dh 2.5 billion (US $660 million) expansion and refurbishment master plan, comprising short-and long-term strategies designed to put the airport at the fore front of aviation in the new millennium. Developments during the current phase (1998 to 2002) include the construction of a new 100-metre diameter satellite building with 11 aircraft parking bays. The satellite, which will be connected to the main building by a high-tech shuttle service, will have the best duty-free shopping complex in the region and sophisticated, modern passenger facilities, encompassing business and first-class lounges, cinemas and restaurants. With the construction of the new satellite building, Abu Dhabi International Airport will be able to handle approximately 2,000 passengers per hour. Another 4,000-metre long, 60-metre wide runway, equipped with state-of-the-art safety devices is scheduled for completion by the end of the year 2000. Other secondary runways are also planned, as well as 18 well equipped aircraft hangars, 11 of which will serve larger aircraft such as Boeing B 747-400s, Boeing 767s and airbus A 320s. T here are also seven hangars for Boeing 747-400 and Boeing 767 aircraft. In the meantime upgrading of the present aircraft safety system is ongoing. A new 200-room hotel for transit passengers is also scheduled for completion in the year 2000. It will be built overlooking the car parking areas and will be surrounded by extensive gardens, a swimming pool, a health club and a floodlit golf course which will be open on a 24-hour basis.

Abu Dhabi Duty Free

Abu Dhabi Duty Free (ADDF) won ‘the best travel retailer in the Middle East’ award for the second consecutive year. ADDF has maintained its growth rate with an 11 per cent increase in revenues for the first quarter of 1999 over the corresponding period of the previous year. In 1998 ADDF had a sales turnover of Dh 296 million, up 12 per cent over 1997 and it expects another increase of 10–15 per cent in 1999.

The new airport satellite will provide an extra 4,000 square meters of retail space, thus dedicating a total of 7,200 square meters for duty-free shopping. The new extension will host 50 branded and 20 specialty boutiques. To date the brand name boutiques and shops introduced by ADDF have been a great success. 

Al Ain Airport

Al Ain Airport has two runways, each 4,000 meters long and 45 meters wide, five parking areas for Boeing 747 aircraft and another two for cargo planes. The airport is equipped with excellent facilities and services including duty-free shopping. A Dh 220 million (US $60 million) expansion plan is under way, including extension of the terminal building, cargo, catering and duty-free areas.


Dubai’s Department of Civil Aviation is expecting around 12 million passengers to travel through Dubai International Airport in the year 2000, 19.3 million in the year 2005 and 31.4 million in the year 2010. A futuristic concourse presently under construction is due to open early in the year 2000 to cater for the increased passenger numbers. Access to the airport has been radically improved and the airport parking area has undergone major restructuring , with space for 1,000 cars and a link to the main terminal by two air-conditioned bridges. 


Sharjah International Airport was awarded the title of 'Global Air Cargo Airport 1999' by the UK's Institute of Transport Management. The award was made in recognition of the airport's 'outstanding standard' in respect of air cargo facilities. This is the first ever international award of its kind to be presented to an international airport for its cargo operations. The award, which followed a thorough investigation by the Institute's research team and intense global competition, is a vindication of the airport's efforts to improve its cargo facilities. 

Sharjah Airport handled a mere 30,000 tones of cargo in 1990, rising to an astonishing 430,000 tones in 1998. Figures for 1999 are set to break the 500,000 tones mark. Overall the UAE’s air freight and air express market is growing at a rate of 15–20 per cent each year.


In line with developments in air passenger and freight traffic, the UAE has nurtured a thriving aviation industry in the past few years. Gulf Air’s worldwide line maintenance operations have been transferred to Abu Dh a b i’s Gulf Aircraft Maintenance Company (GAMCO), 60 per cent of which is owned by the Abu Dhabi Government and 40 per cent by Gulf Air. The US $450 million five-year contract is expected to result in considerable cost savings for Gulf Air. GAMCO’s joint venture in Bahrain, GAMCO Bahrain, in  which GAMCO holds a 51 per cent stake and Bahrain Airport Services the remainder, will become operational by the end of the year 2000. A Dh 295 million (US $80 million) four-bay maintenance facility will be operational by the year 2001. GAMCO is also planning a joint venture with Oman Air Services in Muscat, maintaining Oman’s A310s as well as its turboprop aircraft.

In May 1999 GAMCO signed a technical support contract with FR Aviation Ltd to provide UK station support for Royal Air Force L1011 aircraft. The contract is for working party and casualty support in the UK for the RAF aircraft and the work will be completed at FR Aviation's facility at Bournemouth International Airport where FR Aviation's hangars a re located. GAMCO is contracted to support the RAF's nine Tri Stars, covering scheduled and unscheduled aircraft maintenance for five years. 

GAMCO is in talks with Boeing to handle its aircraft maintenance in the Gulf region. Successful conclusion of these negotiations will make GAMCO Boeing's regional center for aircraft maintenance. Initially GAMCO will act as support agents for Boeing's business jets. The company is also negotiating with original equipment manufacturers on a number of projects, all of which will bring technology and expertise to the UAE.

Air Safety Award

The London-based Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators has bestowed the honorary position of Liveryman on Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Civil Aviation Department. Sheikh Hamdan was decorated with the official apparel of Liveryman of the Guild at a ceremony in London in June 1999. The Guild recognized the dedication and success of Sheikh Hamdan in promoting aircraft safety at an international level, not only in his role as Chairman of the Civil Aviation Department and Abu Dhabi Aviation, but also as Chairman of GAMCO. T h e re are only eight honorary liverymen worldwide.

Emirates Group

The Emirates Group announced a net profit of Dh 429 million for 1998, achieving a growth rate of 15.6 per cent over the previous year. Total group revenue jumped 8.8 per cent to  Dh 4,827 million by the end of March 1999. Profits by the airline increased 19.3 per cent to Dh 313 million. Emirates airline contributed Dh 4,443 million to the group revenue with DNATA's contribution being Dh 564 million, achieving increases of 8.7 and 10.8 per cent respectively.  The Emirates network has expanded to 47 destinations with the addition of three north Pakistan cities. Having surpassed its previous record of 4 million passengers, Emirates is expected to continue its profitable track re c o rd during 1999–2000. The airline has fore c a s t that it will carry 11 million passengers in 1999.

Emirates’ fleet expansion and renewal programme has increased its passenger-carrying capacity. The carrier operates nine Boeing 777-200s and has confirmed leases for three Boeing 777-300s. There are also 18 A330-200s on firm order, three of which have been delivered, as well as new orders for long-range A340-500s. 

Middle East Person of the Year Award 

The Chairman of Emirates and President of Dubai Civil Aviation Department, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, was named 1999’s Middle East Person of the Year in the airline category by the US Travel Ag e n t magazine. Nominees for this distinction are selected from a variety of categories including airlines, hotels, cruises, destinations, retail agents and tour operators. Since 1990 the award has gone to leading figures in the travel industry. 


The Emirates Group plans to strengthen its emiratisation programme by spending Dh 37 million (US $10 million) to train 200 UAE nationals annually for jobs with the airline,  commencing in 1999. Twenty-six per cent of the group's senior positions, from Grade 8 to management level, are occupied by nationals. However, the group's total staff strength of 12,000 includes only 450 nationals.

Airline of the Year

The global Airline of the Year 1999 title was presented to Emirates at the prestigious Official Airline Guide ( OAG) – formerly the Executive Travel – awards. This is the third time and the second consecutive year that Emirates has won this title – first in 1994, then 1998 and 1999. Emirates was also named Best Middle Eastern and Indian Subcontinent Airline. The airline has won this award consistently since 1988. The OAG awards we re based on nominations by over 19,000 frequent flyers worldwide who subscribe to OAG World wide' s print and electronic travel information services. Emirates was also named Best Airline to the Middle East at the Travel Weekly Globe Awards 1999, as voted by readers of Travel Weekly, one of the UK's premier travel trade publications. Emirates has won this title every year since 1994. The airline was named Best Business Airline Middle East at the Business Travel World Awards 1999. The award is based on votes by readers of the monthly magazine for business travel professionals. Emirates has won nearly 170 awards in its 13-year history.


Abu Dhabi Ports

The Abu Dhabi Sea ports Authority supervises the operation of Mina Zayed, Abu Dhabi’s main gateway to the outside world and one of the most important seaports in the UAE, in  addition to a number of small branch seaports such as the dhow harbour, Mussafah port, Umm al-Nar port and Ras Sadr port.

Mina Zayed, established in 1968 and officially inaugurated in 1972, is located in the northeast section of Abu Dhabi city. Covering an area of 510 hectares it comprises 21 berths with depths ranging from 6 to 15 meters and a total length of 4,375 meters. These berths enable Mina Zayed to receive huge transoceanic commercial vessels and it is also well equipped for vessels of more than 60,000 tones load. Since 1991 efforts have been successful in persuading more than 50 major shipping lines to use Mina Zayed regularly. Now more than 2,000 freight ships berth there each year and more than 4 million tones of cargo is handled annually.

Mina Zayed provides its customers with one of the best equipped stevedoring services in the region providing efficient loading and unloading operations at cost-effective prices. In light of the increasing importance of containers as a safe and economic means of freight a sophisticated and well-equipped container terminal was established in 1982. Covering an area of 41 hectares, the terminal has a storage capacity of 15,000 TEUs at any given time. Four deep water berths are provided with a total length of 931 meters and 15 meters depth. The berths are equipped with five 40-tonne cranes. Mina Zayed's throughput in 1998 increased 34 per cent in container volume and 25 per cent in general cargo over 1997. The port's capacity to hold chilled, cool and frozen products was significantly increased when a 15,000 tone cold store became operational in 1999.

The Seaports Authority has adopted a comprehensive plan for the development of Mina Zayed and other affiliate ports over a 20-year-period from 1993 to 2013 at a total cost of Dh 2.8 billion (US $765 million). This is divided into two stages: the short-term development plan begun in 1993 and continuing to the year 2000 and the long-term plan from 2000 to 2013. Some of the major projects under the 10-year development plan a rereconstruction of berths, dredging, construction of new buildings and workshops and cold storage. Located close to Mina Zayed the dhow harbour has been developed as a free port for dhows which promote business between Abu Dhabi, the Gulf states, East Africa, the Middle East and the subcontinent. The facilities at the free port include 34 berths with 2,000 meters of quayside for offshore supply boats and barges. Meanwhile, Mussafah port is scheduled to be in operation by the end of 1999 easing the growing pressure on Port Zayed. The port development plan includes a new channel and berths for Mussafah. 

Sharjah’s ports

In 1998 Sharjah Ports Authority's twin container terminals at Mina Khalid and Khor Fakkan recorded a 5.58 per cent rise in throughput to 863,527 TEU. The jump in traffic was  achieved against the backdrop of the economic downturn felt in many parts of the globe. Container throughput through Mina Khalid rose to 80,176 TEU from 64,564 TEU the previous year, a record 24.18 per cent growth. Traffic through Khor Fakkan on the UAE’s east coast rose 4.33 per cent to 750,817 TEU, the performance being attributed to the quality of services. Statistics show sustained growth in overall throughput, rising 26.68 per cent from 500,700 TEU in 1994 to 634,284 TEU in 1995, to 708,462 TEU in 1996, up 11.69 per cent, and 815,381 TEU in 1997, up 15.09 per cent.

The newly-commissioned 350-metre long deepwater berth at Khor Fakkan will increase the port's annual throughput capacity to more than 1.5 million TEU, confirming the Khor Fakkan Container Terminal (KCT) as one of the leading container transhipment facilities in the region. Part of a multi-million dollar rolling improvement programme, the berth  extension brings KCT's total quay length to 1,060 meters and adds a further 100,000 square meters of paved stacking area. 

During the berth construction a comprehensive dredging programme was completed, and the depth alongside berths, the enlarged turning circle and port approaches, are all now 15 meters at MLW, enabling the world's largest container ships to access the port with ease. Progressively, over the past few years, new container handling equipment has been introduced to maximize handling efficiency. The port now has eight Post Panamax and Super Post Panamax ship-to-shore gantry cranes, the two recent and largest of which can handle vessels stowed 18 containers across. KCT has four rail-mounted yard gantries and six state-of-the-art rubber tyred gantries (RTGs) and is taking delivery of four more RTGs from Liebherr.

Dubai Ports Authority

Dubai Ports Authority, which operates Port Rashid and Jebel Ali port, the biggest man made port in the world, won two top awards for the Middle East region as the Best Seaport and the Best Container Terminal Operator at the Thirteenth Asian Freight Industry Awards for 1999. DPA facilities have a total of 102 deepwater berths, 23 container gantry cranes and four Super Post Panamax cranes, covering 10 container terminal berths. More than 100 shipping lines are served by DPA.

In 1998 DPA reported an increase of 8 per cent in handling container cargo reaching a record of 2.8 million TEU, while a total of 11,316 vessels called at DPA's twin terminals, including 4,898 container vessels, 6 per cent more than the previous year. The total tonnage handled in 1998 rose to 36,424,403 tones. 

Dubai Ports Authority has predicted that its annual cargo volume will not be affected in 1999 despite a reduction of 250,000 containers each year due to a decision by Maersk and Sealand to shift some of their operations to a neighboring port in Oman.

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