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Abu Dhabi International Airport Terminal A will open on 1 November, increasing passenger capacity and reinforcing the emirate’s status as a worldwide aviation hub. Etihad’s ceremonial flight will take place on 31 October before its public debut on 1 November. The new Terminal will enhance travel experiences through state-of-the-art facilities available to passengers and airlines in the region.
After Etihad’s ceremonial flight on 31 October, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi and 15 other international airlines will fly from Terminal A on 1 November. Etihad Airways will start operating 16 daily flights on 9 November and move to their new home on 14 November with Air Arabia Abu Dhabi and ten other carriers. From 14 November, all 28 airlines will operate from Terminal A.
In preparation for the opening in November, operational readiness trials were concluded on 17 October. Over 11,000 Abu Dhabi residents participated in the testing.
Abu Dhabi Airport employees, students, families, and aviation stakeholders participated. The robust simulations assessed end-to-end passenger journeys, encompassing systems, equipment, crew, and processes in check-in, baggage, security screening, immigration, and boarding. The completion of these tests is crucial to Terminal A’s November launch.
“With final preparations almost complete, I am proud to say we are ready to open Terminal A to the public on 1 November,” said Elena Sorlini, Managing Director and Interim CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports. From 1 November to 14 November, the number of flights operating from Terminal A will rapidly increase. I’m excited by the new opportunities and experiences the iconic building offers airlines and passengers. Terminal A will drive Abu Dhabi’s aviation sector forward and play an instrumental role in attracting more businesses and tourists to the emirate for decades to come.”
When fully open, Terminal A will be a 35,000m2 shopper’s paradise with 163 retail concessionaires and food & beverage, providing travellers with a wide range of shopping and dining choices. Terminal A is a shopping destination meant to enhance a passenger’s travel experience, including brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, and Ferragamo, as well as the world’s first Muji airport store.
When it comes to food and beverages, there is something for everyone. Jones The Grocer, Taste of India, Starbucks, and the Camden Food Co. are just a few of the exciting new brands at Terminal A. Also, catering to little palates, young travellers can embark on a culinary adventure amidst their favourite McDonalds or TGI Friday’s restaurant as they enjoy its playful décor.
Additionally, Todd English opens his first airport restaurant, offering travellers a diverse assortment of cuisines from across the world. There are two health and beauty spas, a 138-bedroom hotel, and a modern open-air lounge with famous Arabic hospitality for rest and rejuvenation before flying.
Terminal A will focus on the customer experience, allowing for an improved experience from curb to gate. It will also be the world’s first to have all nine biometric airport touchpoints. In the first phase, biometric solutions will be implemented in key areas like self-service bag drops, immigration eGates, and boarding gates.
It will scan passengers using facial recognition technology to reduce wait times when fully operational. Terminal A, combined with other advanced facilities such as an advanced baggage handling system capable of processing up to 19,200 bags per hour, is ready to provide passengers a smooth journey like never before. With the addition of 65 parking stands linking planes to designated boarding gates, there will be less congestion, a more comfortable boarding experience, and a smoother onward journey.
The X-shaped building design enhances operational efficiency and passenger flow, featuring four themed piers inspired by Abu Dhabi’s desert, sea, city, and oasis landscapes. It also includes the Sana Al Nour, which is 22 metres tall and 17 metres wide and is one of the most prominent indoor public art features in the Middle East.
Terminal A will save water use by 45%, while more than 7,500 solar panels power a 3MW plant that currently saves 5,300 tonnes of CO2 annually. Meanwhile, a cutting-edge Advanced Surface Movement Control System, the first in the Middle East, will allow planes to land quickly and safely in low-visibility weather.
Terminal A is one of the world’s largest airport terminals, strengthening Abu Dhabi’s global tourism, trade, and commerce hub position. The Terminal will more than quadruple the airport’s current capacity, with a capacity of up to 45 million passengers per year. With three times the capacity of the previous Terminal and flights to 117 destinations worldwide, it will improve both the frequency and reach of flights to and from Abu Dhabi, boosting the emirate as a tourism, business, and entertainment destination.
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