Sharjah Airport Authority marches ahead on path of growth, expansion
The world underwent unprecedented upheavals after the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. The global health crisis has devastated all sectors including the global aviation industry. Sharjah and the United Arab Emirates took on the challenge by initiating swift and effective measures to protect the health and safety of residents and visitors and stop the spread of the virus with the help of the UAE Ministry of Health and Community Protection, the Sharjah Health Authority, the General Civil Aviation Authority, and the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority.
Under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the Sharjah Airport Authority has successfully tackled the challenge to continue on the path of growth in all areas.
Thanks to its efforts in providing a safe travel experience and offering world-class services for travellers, Sharjah Airport Authority has been awarded the Airport Health Accreditation (AHA) certification by the Airports Council International. 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.
Appreciating the recognition, Ali Salem Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Airport Authority, said: “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 concerned authorities, and to increase the Sharjah International Airport’s capabilities, both in terms of passenger services and international cargo operations. We aspire to continue on the path of excellence to achieve the strategic vision of the Emirate in all areas.”
Al Midfa stressed that the Sharjah Airport Authority has developed an integrated plan to deal with the challenges imposed by the pandemic on the aviation sector. The six-pronged strategic plan 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 in order to ensure their safety.
“Sharjah International Airport has implemented a number of health and preventive measures, including intensified and frequent sterilisation of all airport facilities and equipment and devices used by travellers and employees. The Sharjah Airport Authority, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Community Protection, has provided the COVID-19 vaccine to all its employees. In fact, ours was the first entity in the Emirate to provide the vaccine to employees,” he added.
“At the same time, we have pushed ahead with the ongoing airport expansion and development work and training and rehabilitation processes, employing latest technology in the face of exceptional circumstances facing the industry. We have been running an extensive media campaign aimed at reassuring travellers and customers and enhancing confidence in travelling through the Sharjah International Airport. All this has resulted in increasing the number of travellers travelling and transiting through the airport,” said Al Midfa.
He stressed that the Sharjah Airport Authority proactively studies the market situation and the volume of travel demand according to new variables, and based on these studies, it develops its plan to accommodate the demand, thus continuing its ambitious path at a steady pace despite the challenges imposed by exceptional circumstances. Work has already begun on the eastern expansion project of the airport. Renovations of the special services hall have been undertaken to improve the level of services offered to customers, in addition to maintenance in various airport facilities to provide technical and security solutions and integrated services. The Authority works with a clear and sustainable plan to achieve its vision, Al Midfa added.
Announcing the introduction of several new flight connections and destinations to travellers flying through Sharjah, Al Midfa said: “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. With a commitment to providing the highest standards of services, we have succeeded in launching regular flights by 11 new airlines through Sharjah International Airport during the first half of this year, in addition to seasonal flights by six airlines as well as three new air cargo flights. Some of these new airlines now operating from Sharjah include Oman Air, SyrianAir, Qatar Airways, and India’s Go Air and Vistara Airlines.”
Al Midfa pointed out that Air Arabia, the UAE national carrier with its operations based at Sharjah International Airport and Abu Dhabi, has also added a number of new destinations to its flight network to include Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt and Phuket in Thailand in addition to another airport in Istanbul. Sharjah’s flagship airline is working to restore the operating rates of its regular flights to East Asia and Europe in the near future, which will further increase the air traffic activity to and from Sharjah, offering UAE travellers with a more extensive network of regional and international destinations.