Abu Dhabi International Airport ( Arabic : مطار أبو ظبي الدولي ) ( IATA : AUH , ICAO : OMAA ) is an airport in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi , the capital of the United Arab Emirates . The airport is one of the fastest growing airports in the world in terms of passengers (+34% in Q1:2008), new airline operators, and infrastructural development. The airport is now undergoing a AED 25 billion (US$6.8 billion) expansion. As of January 2012, 53 airlines offered service to 85 destinations in 49 countries.
The airport, 16.5 nautical miles (30.6 km; 19.0 mi) north east from Abu Dhabi city, is the second largest in the UAE, serving over 12 million passengers in 2010. It has three operational passenger terminals – Terminal 1 and it is divided into Terminal 1A and Terminal 1B, Terminal 2, Terminal 3. Abu Dhabi International Airport is spread over an area of 60 square kilometres (15,000 acres). Its terminal spaces are dominated by Etihad Airways , which is the United Arab Emirates' second largest air carrier after Emirates.
Entry to the Abu Dhabi International Airport
Abu Dhabi International Airport - Lounge First Class
The new Terminal 3, a AED 1 billion (US$270 million) interim facility, was designed to allow for the airport's passenger growth before the planned opening of the new Midfield Terminal on July 17, 2017. Used predominantly by Etihad Airways, the terminal boosted the airport's seven million passenger per year capacity to 12 million. It also added 10 new gates, two of which are Airbus A380 compatible.
The Al Bateen Airport on Abu Dhabi island perviously served as Abu Dhabi's main airport and consisted of a single airstrip with minimal airport facilities. Limited flights were operated from this airport and included flights to other Middle Eastern cities and Mumbai International Airport (then known as Bombay International Airport). After many years of operations, the airport was shifted to the mainland in 1982 and included a circular satellite terminal (with aerobridges) with a single connection to a semi-circular terminal. This design has allowed more aircraft to park simultaneously. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, substantial work was carried out on the satellite terminal, to cater for the increase in passenger numbers; some of the changes, included widening the passenger waiting areas and creating extra parking spots. The main terminal also underwent some external changes, especially on the outer facade. Additionally, Terminal 2 was creating to relieve the pressure of the main terminal. Terminal 2 however, does not have aerobridges and uses of luxury airport buses to help passengers move been aircraft and terminal.
The duty free area in Terminal 3
During the early years of operation of the current airport, there were no means of getting to the airport from the cities, other than by private vehicle or taxis (local taxi and Al Ghazal luxury taxi). With the creation of Abu Dhabi's bus network, city to airport bus services were swiftly introduced. It should be always remembered that leaving vehicles unattended at the entrance of the terminal is not allowed. Police are authorised to impound vehicles or give a fine to offenders.
Immigration at Abu Dhabi Airport
With the withdrawal of support for regional airline Gulf Air after nearly five decades, Etihad became the new airline to be based at the airport. It received full support from the UAE government and has come a long way since its inaugural flight in 2003. Previous Gulf Air CEO James Hogan also transferred to Etihad, bringing a wealth of aviation industry knowledge and experience.
The airport celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2012. Bateen airport is presently used as a dedicated business jet airport.
Development work has started on a new passenger terminal, the main building and centre-piece of the new airport, to be situated between the two runways and known as the Midfield Terminal. Upon completion in 2017, the Midfield Terminal will increase the airport's passenger capacity to more than 20 million per year, with options for this to double in capacity to 40 million. An additional facility is also under consideration that would take the capacity to 50 million.
Airbus A320 9K-AKC of Kuwait Airways in Abu Dhabi International Airport
The expansion master plan projects also include a third 4,480 m (14,698 ft) parallel runway, 2,000 m (6,562 ft) from the existing runways, a new (110 m or 360 ft) tower between the two runways with the new Air Traffic Control centre, enhanced cargo and maintenance facilities, and other commercial developments on the land immediately adjacent to and north of the existing airport.
The project will provide a home base for the UAE's national carrier, Etihad Airways, which will be a major user of new cargo facilities with an ultimate handling capacity of around two million tonnes of freight a year. Close to the new cargo facilities, land has been allocated for commercial activities, business parks, and property developments. Aircraft maintenance facilities will continue to be concentrated on the south side of the existing airport. The plan also sets aside land for the growth of other operators such as Royal Jet and Abu Dhabi Aviation.
Among other aspects of the project, when completed, are the design of remote aircraft stands complete with airfield ground lighting and hydrant fuel.
The general exterior of the terminal resembles that of the new terminal being built at BOM for the new partly because it was designed by the same architect, SOM .
A check-in facility exists in downtown Abu Dhabi, for travellers who want a speedy service at Abu Dhabi Airport before they fly. This facility known as the City Terminal, resembles an airport and has cafe and transport facilities. On reaching the airport, travellers only need to proceed towards customs, immigration and then to the waiting areas. This is a very convenient facility for those who prefer to be seated in particular areas on the flight or for those who live in downtown Abu Dhabi.
In December 2011, the government of Abu Dhabi signed a letter of intent to build a terminal where American government officers will clear passengers to enter the United States, similar to pre-clearance customs facilities in Canada, Australia, the Bahamas, and Ireland.
There is no news on the progress or status of this project.
Airlines and destinations
The central hall of the donnut shaped Terminal 1 at Abu Dhabi International Airport
Duty Free in Terminal 1
Terminal 1 consists of 18 gates
The departures area of Terminal 1
The walkway connecting Terminal 1 and 3 together at Abu Dhabi Airport
Air Seychelles Airbus A330-200 at AUH
Etihad Airways provides bus coaches between Dubai and Abu Dhabi International Airport for Etihad customers.
Abu Dhabi International Airport is equipped with two parallel runways. The runway directions are 13R/31L 4,100 m × 45 m (13,451 ft × 148 ft) and 13L/31R, 4,100 m × 60 m (13,451 ft × 197 ft).
The rapid growth of Etihad Airways, Emirates Airline, and Qatar Airways has pressed for major expansion in airports of the region. In the UAE alone, Abu Dhabi International Airport must compete with Dubai International Airport, about an hour and a half away by road, which is the busiest airport within the UAE. Based out of Dubai International is Etihad's main competitor, Emirates Airline, which is the largest airline in the Middle East and North Africa and one of the largest in the world. Although many that this proximity may mean ambiguous prospects for Abu Dhabi International Airport, this is unlikely due to the healthy nature of competition between all three airlines.
Air Berlin A330 in Abu Dhabi Airport
Additionally, an hour's flight away is Doha International Airport, home of Qatar Airways, which is the fastest growing full service airline in Asia, and one of the fastest growing in the world. Competition on both sides bodes well for Abu Dhabi's airport and its allure to other airlines, as the two other airlines both successfully operate out of other airports. Abu Dhabi International Airport, combined with Dubai and Doha, make for a formidable tri-hub for global air passenger and cargo traffic, which may be boosted by the completion of Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central around 2028. Within five to six years the three airlines, airports, will have a greater carrying capacity than Charles de Gaulle, Heathrow, and Frankfurt all combined.
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The content above was published at Airports-Worldwide.com in 2014.
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