Abu Dhabi International Airport
Operational readiness trials that involved more than 11,000 volunteers will conclude on October 17. Image Credit: Abu Dhabi International Airport

Abu Dhabi: Airlines operating at the Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) will transition into the new Terminal A in three phases over two weeks, airport authorities confirmed Monday.

Known as Midfield Terminal Building during the construction phase, Terminal A, will officially open to the public on November 1, after Etihad's ceremonial flight on October 31.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi and 15 other international airlines will fly from the new Terminal on November 1. From November 9, Etihad Airways will operate 16 daily flights before completing their transition to their new home on November 14, together with Air Arabia Abu Dhabi and ten other airlines. From November 14, all 28 airlines will be operational from Terminal A, said authorities. Operational readiness trials that involved more than 11,000 volunteers will conclude on October 17.

Elena Sorlini, Managing Director and Interim CEO at Abu Dhabi Airports said, "We will see a rapid increase in the number of flights operating from Terminal A as of November 1 to 14. 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."

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Terminal A, one of the world's largest airport terminals, will double the current airport capacity to accommodate up to 45 million passengers per year. Being three times larger than the old terminal and serving 117 global destinations will enhance the frequency and coverage of flights to and from Abu Dhabi.

When fully operational, Terminal A will cover 35,000m2 with 163 retail concessionaires and food and beverage, offering passengers various shopping and dining opportunities.

Fully digital

Terminal A will streamline services from kerb-to-gate and is said to be the first in the world to include all nine biometric airport touchpoints.

In the first phase, biometric solutions will be installed in 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, said airport officials.

The terminal has an advanced baggage handling system capable of processing up to 19,200 bags per hour.

The X-shaped building design helps improve operational 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, one of the largest indoor public art features in the Middle East, standing 22 metres tall and 17 metres wide.