Abu Dhabi’s Midfield Terminal under construction. SITA, one of the world’s leading airport technology providers, entered a five-year contract with Abu Dhabi Airports in 2015. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Midfield Terminal’s main technology provider — SITA — says the new airport is currently undergoing all major systems testing as the airport edges closer to completion, with the group’s technology set to put the airport on par with some of the world’s best airports.

Originally scheduled to open back in 2017, officials from Abu Dhabi Airports recently said that an announcement on the new terminal’s opening could be expected next year, with the airport now more than 97 per cent completed. SITA, one of the world’s leading airport technology providers, entered a five-year contract with Abu Dhabi Airports in 2015 as the leading contractor for the new terminal’s integrated systems.

“The airport has been under construction [for] under four years now… so the systems are already installed, already tested, and now we’ll go through what we call the ORAT (operational readiness and transition), where we start doing the real testing to make the airport ready,” said Jihad Boueri, vice-president Airports and Airlines, Middle East, India and Africa, SITA.

Boueri acknowledged the construction time delays to the project, but said the delays haven’t had a major impact on their side of work. “We work in IT and IT comes along with the construction and will be tested in the end. So if there is a delay in the construction it will affect the IT.

“We’re okay with the timeline. Because there were a lot of delays in the construction we had our time to accommodate, and hopefully after the cut over [is done] a lot of new technologies will be implemented at the airport,” he added.

Boueri said that once the airport is opened for operations, that passengers could expect a world-class experience on par with some of the world’s best airports.

“The role of IT is to make a very smooth travel through the airport, we need the happy traveller,” he said.

“When we go to the facilitation of the passenger, we have implemented all the systems related to the check in — automatic check in, the self check in [and] the check in using the traditional system,” he added.

“All the [latest] baggage reconciliation systems, baggage trapping systems [have also been implemented] to ensure that the passenger and their baggage will proceed through the airport easily,” he said.

Boueri said that passengers would also be able to track everything on their smartphone. “What is important as well is that the passenger is being informed so they have control — they know every point of time, where their luggage is, when is the flight, where is the gate [and] the time to the gate. Through their phone they are able to control all the process, so we put the passenger in control,” he added. “For sure Abu Dhabi Midfield Terminal will be implementing and will run with the latest systems available worldwide,” he said.

Along with catering to passengers, Boueri said that part of the challenge was accommodating with all the other stakeholders involved with the airport, including Etihad Airways and their own growth plans.

“We have a very active airline — Etihad Airways — [they] are very demanding for growth, and so we have to accommodate the growth of Etihad.

“Etihad is the main customer, the main player at Abu Dhabi Airport … We are in the middle of the collaboration between the airport, airline, ground handlers, passengers, [and] so we don’t have to accommodate only what comes in the contract as contractors, we have to accommodate all other stakeholders and the big players like Etihad,” he added.