Al Bateen Executive Airport has reopened following the completion of a major modernisation project. Since 11 May, it was closed for receiving and releasing aircraft, the only exception being helicopter operations. Within three months, the airport not only received a new runway, but also ground lighting and new landscaping. A new airport perimeter was also installed. According to the administration, the extended runway will allow the airport to accommodate larger planes. The first modern international facility in Abu Dhabi, Al Bateen opened in the late 1960s: after oil was discovered in Abu Dhabi, traffic needs had to be met. Instead of a sandy runway, an entire airport with a terminal under a concrete roof grew and even gave the city’s street its name – Airport Road (now named after Sheikh Rashid Bin Said). By the 1970s, it was clear that the demand for air travel in Abu Dhabi was likely to require a much larger facility. “Al Bateen is in the centre of Abu Dhabi, on an island, so its expansion would have been limited. Management foresaw that the airport would need to be moved off the island,” says Matar Al Suwaidi, senior vice president of terminal operations at Abu Dhabi Airports. The current main airport opened in 1982 and since then, Al Bateen Executive Airport has operated as a military base before becoming a dedicated air harbour for private aircraft.