Abu Dhabi

The Dh10.8 billion Midfield Terminal at Abu Dhabi International is on track to now open in December 2017, Abu Dhabi Airports’ Chief Executive, Mohammad Al Mazroui, said on Tuesday.

“In July 2017, we will finish handing over and in December we will go live,” Al Mazroui told reporters at the Abu Dhabi Air Expo.

Abu Dhabi Airports, the government-owned operator, had targeted a July 2017 opening date but “construction issues” pushed this back until December of that year, an Abu Dhabi Airports spokesperson told Gulf News at the Global Aerospace Summit on Monday.

The December 2017 opening was reported late last year though no reason for change was given at the time. The announcement comes as low oil prices puts pressure on Gulf governments to tighten their budgets and curb spending.

Construction on the 700,000 square metre Midfield Terminal is going ahead and will be 90 per cent complete by the end of the year, Al Mazroui said. It is 70 per cent complete at present.

In February 2014, then-chief executive of Abu Dhabi Airports, Tony Douglas, told Gulf News the opening target date was July 2017 and a factsheet available on the airports website on Tuesday stated the opening was planned “for 7.00am on 17 July 2017.”

Abu Dhabi Airports Chief Operations Officer, Ahmad Al Haddabi, told Gulf News on Monday construction on the Midfield Terminal will be complete by July 2017 and that it would open to airlines and passengers in December later that year.

“When you open any mega terminal such as this one, you need to work very closely with the airline. It will be operative by the end of 2017,” he said.

He also said that end-2017 was “the original date” for the opening.

The Midfield Terminal is part of a nearly Dh40 billion expansion of Abu Dhabi International airport, the home of Etihad Airways. The new terminal will accommodate the rapidly expanding Etihad and several of the international airlines it holds stakes in, according to reports. Abu Dhabi International expects to handle 26 million passengers this year, Al Mazroui said. It handled 23.3 million passengers in 2015.

In March 2015, Abu Dhabi Airports Chairman, Ali Majed Al Mansouri, told Gulf News “some changes” had been made to the original design due to the “complexity of the building and changes in technology.” He said at the time this had not affected the delivery schedule.

The Midfield Terminal is being built by a joint venture between Dubai-based company Arabtec, Turkish construction firm TAC and Greece’s Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC). Construction started in 2013, according to the airport’s website.