Aviation News

Abu Dhabi Airport’s new Midfield Terminal to open on 1st November 2023

Abu Dhabi Airport’s Terminal A, also known as Midfield Terminal, will begin operations on 1st November 2023.

1st November 2023

Etihad Airways, the home airline of Abu Dhabi, will operate a ceremonial flight on 31st October 2023, ahead of opening to the public on 1st November 2023.

Airlines will transition into Terminal A in 3 phases over a period of 2 weeks: after Etihad’s ceremonial flight on 31st October 2023, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi and 15 other international airlines will fly from the new Terminal on 1st November 2023. From 9th November 2023, Etihad Airways will operate 16 daily flights, before completing their transition to their new home on 14th November 2023, together with Air Arabia Abu Dhabi and 10 other airlines. From 14th November 2023, all 28 airlines will be operating out of Terminal A.

Terminal A’s control tower

In preparation for the opening in November, operational readiness trials will conclude on 17th October 2023. 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.

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.

said Elena Sorlini, Managing Director and Interim CEO, Abu Dhabi Airports.

Terminal details

Terminal A will 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, the airport says that “this allows for less congestion, a more relaxed boarding experience and smoother onward journey”.

Rendering of Terminal A

Stay up to date: Sign up for my newsletter to never miss latest Aviation and Travel news.

The airport adds that 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.

The Midfield Terminal will feature 35,000 square meters of shopping and dining spaces, with 163 retail concessionaires and food & beverage options. The terminal will have brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Ferragamo and the world’s first Muji airport store.

When it comes to food and beverage, there is something to accommodate all palates. Jones The Grocer, Taste of India, Starbucks and the Camden Food Co. are just a few of the exciting brands calling Terminal A their new home. Also, catering to little palates, young travellers can embark on a culinary adventure amidst their favourite McDonalds or TGI Fridays restaurant as they enjoy its playful décor. Additionally, Todd English opens his first airport restaurant providing diners with a wide selection of cuisines from around the world. For relaxation and rejuvenating 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.

Rendering of Terminal A

Terminal A will drastically reduce water consumption by 45%, whilst more than 7,500 solar panels power a 3MW plant that currently saves 5,300 tons of carbon dioxide 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.

One of the largest terminals in the world, Terminal A will ensure that Abu Dhabi remains a key global hub connecting the East and West. 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.

Etihad’s transition to Terminal A

Etihad is the home airline of Abu Dhabi, so it’s natural that the airline will have a phased transition of operations to Terminal A, given the sheer scale of operations it has. The below image details the transition of Etihad to Terminal A:

Photo: Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi Airport has a United States pre-clearance facility. If you are flying with Etihad to the U.S., it appears that your flight may still depart from the old terminal. Etihad states the following:

If you have a connecting flight to the US and your flight has arrived in Terminal A, head to Gate F two hours before your connecting flight. This will allow ample time to board the shuttle bus and clear US immigration before you fly.

If you are flying with Etihad between 1st and 14th November 2023, it’s better to check with the airline at which terminal will your flight be arriving and which terminal will your flight be departing from in order to ensure that you have a easy connection process.

Featured image by Abu Dhabi Airports

All other images by Abu Dhabi Airports unless mentioned

What do you think of Abu Dhabi Airport’s Terminal A? Let me know in the comments section below.

Follow IH Aviation and Travel on Social Media on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Leave a Reply