Dh10.8 billion Abu Dhabi Midfield Terminal to open soon
It will have a capacity to handle 45 million passengers annually.
The new Abu Dhabi Midfield Terminal project has achieved more than 97 per cent completion and is expected to open in the near future, according to authorities.
Brian Thompson, CEO of the Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), said the Midfield Terminal Building (MTB) at Abu Dhabi International Airport, which will set the benchmark for all airports over the next 20 years, is under operational readiness and testing and that the date for the grand opening of the new terminal will be announced next year.
"We are in the final stages of completion of the Midfield Terminal, including operational readiness and testing. We are keen on giving our passengers the greatest experience ever and we want to ensure that we are 100 per cent ready at the time of opening," said Thomson without giving specific timeline for the opening of the new Dh10.8 billion airport terminal.
He made these comments at a media briefing on the new terminal on the sidelines of this week's ACI Exchange 2019 conference being held at Adnec in Abu Dhabi where the global aviation industry is gathering to explore the future of airport innovation.
The new terminal project which spans a massive 742,000sqm floor area is expected to boost the aviation sector in the UAE. It will have a capacity to handle 45 million passengers annually.
By offering some of the best facilities in the world with a strong retail offering, ADAC is ensuring the airport is an attractive destination for all airlines and serves as a gateway to Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
The global hub will include 154 check-in counters, 12,150sqm of food and beverage outlets, and 27,500sqm of passenger lounges once completed. Passengers transiting through Abu Dhabi can also pass the time shopping in high-end retail outlets covering 15,860sqm, or rest in the nearly 200-room transit hotel.
"We are taking on the challenge of making the impersonal, sometimes mechanical experience of travel feel warm, human and wondrous again," said Thompson.
"In so doing, we give travellers their first real taste of our home, not merely as a hub, but as a destination. The new terminal will be a point of pride for all Emiratis and a truly exceptional building that represents Abu Dhabi's welcoming gift to travellers arriving in the emirate."
On the impact of Air Arabia Abu Dhabi on traffic over the new terminal, Thompson noted that Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will bring 3.5 million passengers per annum and this will have a big impact on the new airport terminal in terms of creating new growth because they are going to new markets and new connectivity for Abu Dhabi.
"Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will bring in new passengers from new destinations," he said.
To a question, he said ADAC 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. He said the MoU would cover Bucharest airport and five regional airports in Romania.
"We are exploring partnership opportunities for the future management and development of airports in Romania," he said, adding that ADAC is predominantly focused on Africa, Eastern Europe and Indonesia.
The airports group currently operates five airports in the UAE including the main international airport in the capital Abu Dhabi. It was established in 2006 to spearhead the re-development of the emirate's aviation infrastructure.
Modern facility that portrays UAE heritage
Ahmed Juma Al Shamsi, ADAC's acting chief operations officer said ADAC is drawing on its heritage in the ultra-modern facility.
"We are creating an experience which is uniquely Emirati. It is envisioned as an architectural marvel and a truly iconic structure for the UAE capital. The design of MTB is based on the beauty and symmetry of the sand dunes that define the dramatic Abu Dhabi desert landscape."
ADAC's chief programs officer, Sulaiman Al Siksek said the new terminal project is an embodiment of smart travel perfected.
"The facility is being built with a positive passenger experience at its core. A stress-free process is being created at every step in the customer journey, with robust biometric, mobile, and automation technologies helping us to cooperate with security authorities for a truly seamless journey," he said.
With international passenger numbers projected to double in the next 20 years, Abu Dhabi is ideally located to connect the major population centres of Europe, Africa, India and China - and in the case of the last three, meet the needs of their growing, aspirational middle classes. The MTB will play a key role in meeting future growth and capacity needs.
According to officials, Abu Dhabi airport handled 21.6 million passengers in 2018 and they expect to handle 21.48 million passengers in 2019.
More than 13,000 employees are currently working at the existing airport terminals and 53 percent of these UAE nationals.
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