Terminal 2 at Abu Dhabi International Airport to close

Operator says move is to streamline operations and not linked to the coronavirus outbreak

Abu Dhabi Airports said it is shutting Terminal 2 of Abu Dhabi International Airport and shifting existing flights to Terminal 1.

"Terminal 2 will be closed indefinitely to streamline airport operations into Terminal 1, invariably enhancing the passenger experience and increasing the efficiency of our airline partners' operations," an Abu Dhabi Airports spokesman told The National.

“The closure of Terminal 2 at AUH is fully in line with our dedication to delivering exceptional service to our airline partners and passengers and is not in relation to the outbreak of coronavirus [Covid-19].”

The operator said it is working with airlines to ensure a smooth transition of operations and advised passengers to check the departure terminal with their airline prior to traveling.

Abu Dhabi International Airport is the home of Etihad Airways, which operates out of Terminal 3.

The UAE recently announced a series of measures to slow the spread of Covid-19, including suspending some entry visas.  However, the airport operator clarified that the suspensions do not apply to passengers from a list of countries eligible for visa-on-arrival.

Passengers from visa-exempt countries and those arriving from high-risk countries will be subject to “advanced polymerase chain reaction [PCR] testing” at the airport, it said.

Passengers will then be required to self-isolate for four days, before a secondary test is conducted to confirm a Covid-19 infection.

The list of visa-exempt countries included Italy, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, the US and UK.

The novel coronavirus outbreak has wrecked havoc for  global airline schedules and led industry bodies to call for government support to protect the sector.

Centre for Aviation (CAPA) in Sydney, an airline industry analysis company, warned that without assistance many airlines could face bankruptcy by the end of May.

“Co-ordinated government and industry action is needed - now - if catastrophe is to be avoided,” it said in a report on Monday. “Cash reserves are running down quickly as fleets are grounded and what flights there are operate much less than half-full.”

Abu Dhabi on Monday revealed a plan to stimulate economic growth through investments and 16 new initiatives aimed at backing its private sector, as the global economy faces unprecedented challenges from the coronavirus outbreak.