Airports, Loyalty Facilities and Duty Free
Sharjah on track
An open skies policy, competitive charges and a strategic location as the "crossroad of the south" has helped Sharjah International Airport to position itself as a key regional hub.Passenger traffic through the Sharjah airport has recovered fully from the aftermath of the terror attacks in US. The passenger flow witnessed a small dip following the attacks, but the impact was minimised by the fact that most airlines using its services are Far Eastern, Central Asian, European and regional operators, Dr Ghanem Al Hajri, the airport director general, told media recently. "Proof that passenger flows are improving is evident from the fact that Indian Airlines has started the New Year with a new non-stop service to Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)," he said. More than 30 airlines currently operate 84 scheduled and 242 unscheduled flights through the airport. Nearly one million passengers used the airport. And a major expansion programme launched by the emirate's civil aviation authorities is certain to further strengthen the airport's future growth. The airport's cargo facilities and terminal buildings are being refurbished as part of the Dh60 million ($16 million) master plan for the development of the facility to the year 2015. The top management at the airport has also recently undergone a major reshuffle with plans chalked out to market the airport more aggressively in international markets. "We are an uncongested airport, which means that priority service, for all airlines, is an accepted fact. We have 40 parking slots for aircraft and large apron space and warehousing capacity," said a spokesperson. The airport also has modern equipment and infrastructure to handle aircraft of all types, complemented by professional, courteous and efficient staff. "Probably our biggest asset is the attitude of the concerned governmental authorities such as security, immigration and customs who are customer friendly and aim to serve," the spokesperson said. The airport has fully computerised cargo systems and is the only airport globally where two aircraft can swap their complete loads simultaneously, as is witnessed regularly, between the B747 freighters of Singapore Airlines cargo and Lufthansa Cargo. It has five cargo terminals in its Freight Centre and the airport handled 415,586,194 kg of cargo during 2001.