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 Abu Dhabi is pushing ahead with the construction of a new civilian airport to face a steady increase in air traffic and it will be launched on December 2 next year to mark UAE National Day, an official was quoted on Sunday as saying.

Ali Al Mansouri, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Airports Council, said 66 per cent of the project has been completed and total investments are estimated at Dh19 billion.

He told the semi-official daily Al Ittihad that the project involves terminals, tarmacs, and control towers, car parks and other facilities.

“Construction work will be completed in July….it will be run on trial basis before it is officially inaugurated on December 2,  2016,” he said.

“The airport will consist of a smart building to ensure smooth passenger and traffic movement…this will boost the airport’s handling capacity from 8,000 in the beginning to 12,000 a day…this means the airport’s capacity could reach later 50 million a year.”

He said a project to build a duty free zone at the airport has been awarded and the winning firm would be announced in January.