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UAE: Sharjah airport remains resilient during pandemic, says top official

Muzaffar Rizvi /Sharjah
muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com Filed on August 22, 2021

Supplied photo

Supplied photo

11 airlines launch regular flights in first half of this year


Sharjah International Airport remained resilient during the pandemic and staged a remarkable performance defying negative trends by adding new destinations and attracting more airlines in the first half of this year, its top official says.

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Ali Salim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Airport Authority, said the authority has successfully tackled the Covid-19 challenge to continue on the path of growth in all areas.

"We have successfully launched regular flights of 11 new airlines during the first half of this year. This is in addition to seasonal flights by six airlines as well as three new air cargo flights," Al Midfa told Khaleej Times during an interview.

Al Midfa said some of the airlines now operating from Sharjah International Airport include Oman Air, SyrianAir, Qatar Airways, Go Air and Vistara Airlines.

"We are constantly communicating and working with various regional and international authorities to attract new airlines to the Emirate and offer connectivity with new destinations and regions," Al Midfa said.

Air Arabia plays key role

Answering a question, he said Air Arabia has also added several new destinations to its flight network. It launched regular services to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, Phuket in Thailand and another airport in Istanbul.

"Air Arabia is working to restore the operating rates of its regular flights to East Asia and Europe in the near future that will further increase the air traffic activity to and from Sharjah, offering UAE travellers a more extensive network of regional and international destinations," Al Midfa said.

Air Arabia is Sharjah's flagship airline, operating from both the emirate and Abu Dhabi to many international destinations.

Airport growth

The emirate, considered the Cultural Capital of the Arab and Islamic World with several tourist attractions and landmarks, continues its efforts to consolidate its position on the global travel map by partnering with new airlines and destinations.

"The airport witnessed a significant growth in the number of passengers and the volume of air cargo over the past few years due to increasing interest among tourists to visit Sharjah and the UAE," Al Midfa said.

"We have been keen to develop our services, simplify procedures, and attract new airlines. It has contributed to strengthening the position of Sharjah as an attractive shopping and business destination for both tourists and investors," he said.

Smart transformation

About Sharjah's smart transformation plan, Al Midfa said the authority is constantly working to employ the latest technological innovations and facilitates at the airport to serve travellers and customers best.

"We use innovative electronic services that offer travellers greater convenience and ease. We are confident that these services will benefit the aviation industry in the months and years ahead," he said.

Covid-19 challenge

Al Midfa said that the Sharjah Airport Authority has developed an integrated plan to deal with the challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic on the aviation sector.

"We are more determined than ever to accelerate the recovery of international travel through cooperation and compliance of all health and safety guidelines issued by the authorities concerned," he said.

He said the six-pronged strategic plan to tackle the pandemic is focused on maintaining business continuity while ensuring the highest level of health and preventive measures, including the Covid-19 tests of both passengers and employees to ensure their safety.

"We aspire to continue on the path of excellence to achieve the strategic vision of the Emirate in all areas," Al Midfa said.

Airports Council International recently awarded the Airport Health Accreditation to Sharjah Airport Authority for ensuring safe travel and offering world-class services to travellers. Sharjah International Airport is the first in the UAE and seventh in the Middle East to receive this international accreditation in recognition of its efforts to provide a safe travel experience during the ongoing pandemic.

--- muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com

author

Muzaffar Rizvi

Business Editor/News Editor of Khaleej Times is a well-connected journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the mainstream journalism since 1997, covering the UAE's economy and key sectors. He holds a post-graduate degree in Economics and has won many awards for authentic and insightful reports on global and regional businesses and economic trends.





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