Aden transformation takes off

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The Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY) has launched Phase I of a project to rehabilitate and upgrade Aden International Airport.

The project will involve full modernization and expansion of the Yemeni airport. Once complete it will be, for the first time, a non-stop, world-class hub for international and domestic flights.

The transformation will proceed in three phases. Phase I focuses on providing electricity, safety measures, and transportation. The external main gates and roads of the complex will be studied and redesigned, and passenger transportation buses provided.

Phase II will consist of constructing and connecting vital service systems, such as telecommunications, navigation and air traffic control. Rehabilitation of the runway and taxi areas, gates, and tunnels connecting gates to aircraft will also be undertaken.

Phase III will focus on alignment of airport facilities and operations with ICAO standards in all areas, including safety, electricity supply, interior and exterior infrastructure, air traffic control and navigation.

Aden Airport is both the oldest air transportation hub in Yemen and the most important, with the potential to generate substantial income and jobs both for the densely populated Aden Governorate and for Yemen as a whole.

The outbreak of conflict in early 2015 forced the airport to close, and since July 2015, when Saudi planes delivering aid and equipment became the first aircraft to land there in four months, the facility has seen only sporadic and very limited service. Aden International Airport is 6km (3.7 miles) from the center of Aden and currently operates six flights per week at very high cost, all of them regional flights. The transformation is expected to boost airport capacity and traffic as early as this year.

The groundbreaking was overseen by Yemeni Prime Minister Dr Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, and was led by SDRPY projects and studies director Eng Hassan Alattas, with the commander of the Arab Coalition forces in Aden, Brig Gen Mujahid Bandar Al-Otaibi and other government officials in attendance.

“The objective of this project is to bring Aden Airport up to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards as quickly as possible, connect Aden directly to the countries in the region, and increase the airport’s capacity to handle much greater numbers of flights and passengers,” said Alattas.

“This will represent a new era in the airport’s history because this facility has never functioned consistently to international standards before,” he added.

The groundbreaking at Aden Airport follows a preliminary needs assessment by SDRPY in late November to inspect airport buildings, runway surface, lighting and equipment, current navigation devices and systems, and departure and arrival halls.

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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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