Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) Terminal A will begin operations on November 1, 2023, bringing a major increase in passenger capacity to Abu Dhabi and strengthening the emirate’s standing as a global aviation hub.
Etihad Airways will operate a ceremonial flight on October 31, ahead of the terminal’s opening to the public on November 1. The new terminal will enhance travel experiences through state-of-the-art facilities made available to passengers and airlines in the region.
Airlines will transition into Terminal A in 3 phases over a period of 2 weeks: after Etihad’s ceremonial flight on 31st October, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi and 15 other international airlines will fly from the new Terminal on 1st November. From 9th November, Etihad Airways will operate 16 daily flights, before completing their transition to their new home on 14th November, together with Air Arabia Abu Dhabi and 10 other airlines. From 14th November, all 28 airlines will be operational from Terminal A.
In preparation for the opening in November, operational readiness trials will conclude on 17th October. In total, the trials involved more than 11,000 volunteers selected from the Abu Dhabi community. These included Abu Dhabi Airports staff members, students, families and stakeholders from Abu Dhabi’s aviation community. Those taking part in the robust simulations stress-tested end-to-end passenger journeys encompassing systems, equipment, staff and procedures in key operating areas such as check-in, baggage, security screening, immigration and boarding. The successful completion of these trials is a key milestone in ensuring Terminal A is ready for opening to the public in November.
Elena Sorlini, Managing Director and Interim CEO at Abu Dhabi Airports, said, “With final preparations almost complete, I am proud to say we are ready to open Terminal A to the public on November 1st. We will see a rapid increase in the number of flights operating from Terminal A as of November 1st to the 14th, and I’m excited by the new opportunities and experiences which the iconic facility will bring to both airlines and passengers. Terminal A will drive the growth of the aviation sector in Abu Dhabi and play an instrumental role in welcoming more businesses and tourists to the emirate for decades to come.”
When fully operational, Terminal A will be a shopper’s paradise covering 35,000 m2 with 163 retail concessionaires and food & beverage, offering passengers a wide variety of shopping and dining opportunities to enjoy. For relaxation and rejuvenation prior to flying, there are two health and beauty spas along with a high-quality 138-bedroom hotel plus a modern open-air lounge offering renowned Arabic hospitality.
Terminal A will prioritise the passenger experience, facilitating a streamlined service from kerb-to-gate. It will also be the first in the world to include all nine biometric airport touchpoints. In the first phase, this will see biometric solutions installed in key areas, such as self-service bag drops, immigration eGates and boarding gates. When fully operational, it will use facial recognition technology to screen passengers and minimise wait times. Combined with other high-tech facilities including an advanced baggage handling system capable of processing up to 19,200 bags per hour, Terminal A is poised to deliver a seamless passenger journey to travellers like never before. Increasing to 65 parking stands connecting aircraft with allocated boarding gates, this allows for less congestion, a more relaxed boarding experience and a smoother onward journey.
The X-shaped building design helps improve operational efficiency and passenger flow featuring four themed piers inspired by Abu Dhabi’s desert, sea, city and oasis natural landscapes. It also features the Sana Al Nour, which is one of the largest indoor public art features in the Middle East, standing at 22 metres tall and 17 metres wide.
Terminal A will drastically reduce water consumption by 45 percent, while more than 7,500 solar panels power a 3MW plant that reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 5,300 tonnes annually. Meanwhile, a state-of-the-art Advanced Surface Movement Control System, the first of its kind in the Middle East, will allow planes to land quickly and safely during low-visibility weather conditions.
Terminal A is one of the largest airport terminals in the world, strengthening Abu Dhabi’s global position as a centre for tourism, trade and commerce. The Terminal will double the current airport capacity, with the capability to accommodate up to 45 million passengers per year. At triple the size of the previous Terminal, and with flights to 117 destinations worldwide, it will increase both the frequency and reach of flights to and from Abu Dhabi, boosting the emirate as a destination for travel, business and entertainment.
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