Etihad completes flight transfers to new terminal

Etihad Airways completes its transfer of long-haul flights to the new Terminal 3 at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

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Etihad Airways has completed its transfer of long-haul flights to the new Terminal 3 at Abu Dhabi International Airport, marking the end of a phased transfer to the Dh1.1 billion (US$299.4 million) terminal that opened in January. Etihad is banking on the terminal to boost its image after the carrier outgrew existing facilities at the airport. It is expecting to receive 11 new aircraft this year, targeting a 15 per cent increase in passenger numbers to 7 million.

"The much-improved airport is now better equipped to meet the future expansion plans of the national airline of the UAE," said James Hogan, the chief executive of Etihad. The new Terminal 3 is seen as a stop-gap measure in the longer-term growth of the carrier. With another 100 aircraft scheduled to be delivered in the next decade, Etihad's growth plans will require even larger facilities. In 2012, the airport will open the first phase of its Midfield Terminal, the centrepiece of a Dh25bn plan to revitalise the airport and make Abu Dhabi a global aviation centre.

The last four flights to move to Terminal 3 - Beijing, New Delhi, Johannesburg and Mumbai - were transferred this week. The terminal, built for the exclusive use of the Abu Dhabi-based airline, includes modern premium lounges and improved check-in areas, the company said. A total of 31 destinations now operate from the new Terminal 3, but some of Etihad's regional and international flights remain at the adjacent Terminal 1.

These include Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Casablanca, Chennai, Damascus, Dhaka, Islamabad, JFK New York, Karachi, Kathmandu, Khartoum, Kochi, Kozhikode, Lahore, Peshawar, Tehran and Thiruvananthapuram.