November 26, 2019 / 11:18 AM / 19 days ago

REFILE-UPDATE 1-Abu Dhabi Airports to explore airport development with Romania

(Fixes dateline)

ABU DHABI, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi Airports said on Tuesday it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Romania’s South Development Group to explore opportunities to manage and develop airports in the European country in its first foray outside the UAE.

The airports group, wholly owned by the Abu Dhabi government, currently operates five airports in the United Arab Emirates including the main international airport in the capital Abu Dhabi.

“We are exploring partnership opportunities for the future management and development of airports in Romania,” Bryan Thompson, chief executive officer of Abu Dhabi Airports told reporters.

He said the MOU would cover Bucharest airport and five regional airports in Romania.

Thompson said Abu Dhabi Airports, which was created in 2006 to spearhead the re-development of the Emirate’s aviation infrastructure, is also exploring projects with four or five other countries and airport groups.

“We are predominantly focused on Africa, Eastern Europe, Indonesia. There are many opportunities out there,” he said.

Thompson also said Abu Dhabi airport’s new 10.8 billion dirham ($2.94 billion) Midfield Terminal, was 97.6% complete, although he could not give a date for its opening.

Thompson said passenger numbers in 2019 would be very close to 21.5 million, compared to 21.6 million passengers last year.

The Midfield Terminal is set to increase the airport’s passenger handling capacity to 45 million a year but it has faced a series of setbacks, delaying a planned July 2017 opening.

Reporting by Stanley Carvalho; writing by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Louise Heavens; Kirsten Donovan

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