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 said in a interview to Khaleej Times.
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 said.
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 added.
Air Arabia adding several new destinations to its flight network played a key role in keeping passenger numbers high. The airline 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 travelers a more extensive network of regional and international destinations,” Al Midfa said.
“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 – is the Cultural Capital of the Arab and Islamic World 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.
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 travelers and customers best.
The new and innovative services and an integrated plan to deal with the challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic have been put in place to help the airport in these difficult times.
“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.
Airports Council International recently awarded the Airport Health Accreditation to Sharjah Airport Authority for ensuring safe travel and offering world-class services to travelers. 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.