Midfield Terminal at Abu Dhabi airport on track to open in 2017

More than 18,000 workers, 42 tower cranes and 35 mobile cranes are currently working on site to keep the project on time.
Above, the 180-metre arch span of the Midfield Terminal being built at the Abu Dhabi airport. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
Above, the 180-metre arch span of the Midfield Terminal being built at the Abu Dhabi airport. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

The Midfield Terminal Building that will more than double capacity at Abu Dhabi International Airport is on track to open in the summer of 2017, the airport’s operator said yesterday.

More than 18,000 workers, 42 tower cranes and 35 mobile cranes are currently working on site to keep the project on time.

“Absolutely yes we are on track to open on 17 July 2017. Everything is on schedule,” said Ali Majed Al Mansoori, the chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports.

The airport is built to cater to 30 million passengers per year, with 156 standard check-in counters and 48 self-service kiosks, plus provision for up to eight airline lounges. Its baggage handling system will be more than 22 kilometres long, with capacity to handle 19,000 bags per hour.

The terminal building will also feature a museum to highlight the emirate’s cultural attractions such as The Louvre Abu Dhabi.

“We plan to have a museum in the airport to show the Abu Dhabi culture to passengers passing through Abu Dhabi,” he said.

The current capacity at the airport is 12.5 million passenger per year.

Abu Dhabi Airports reported a 15.1 per cent increase in passenger traffic during the first quarter of this year. The airport’s passenger count was at 4.5 million during the quarter, compared with 3.9 million a year earlier. Passenger traffic forecasts show a 30 per cent increase in passenger numbers by the time the Midfield terminal is scheduled to open in 2017.

The project is key to the expansion plans of Abu Dhabi International, which is undergoing rapid growth, driven by the route expansion of Etihad Airways.

By 2020 Etihad plans to have more than 160 aircraft and nine fleet types that include 10 Airbus A380s and 41 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

At Midfield, there will be eight gates that will accommodate A380s and premium guests will go directly from the lounge to the flight.

The company confirmed that work is under way to build links to the 1,200km Etihad Rail network.

“We will build the infrastructure for Etihad Rail but it won’t come upon the opening of the airport. It will open a couple of years later. However we are thinking ahead by providing the infrastructure,” said Mr Al Mansoori.

The automated passenger mobility system – a set of trams – will connect passengers from the terminal to other future terminals.

A southern runway tunnel will also connect the Midfield terminal to existing terminals.

At the most recent construction milestone, in October, the first buttress for the steel arches to support the terminal’s roof were laid a week ahead of schedule.

In February, a joint venture that includes a unit of Arabtec scooped a Dh878 million contract covering mechanical, electrical and plumbing work at the under-construction terminal building.

Abu Dhabi Duty Free is already working to attract global bidders to move into the terminal building, which will have a total of 28,000 square metres of space available, comprising 18,000 sq metres of retail and 10,000 sq metres for food and beverage outlets.

Last week, the Department of Transportin Abu Dhabi announced plans to improve access to and from the Midfield Terminal, with the widening of the Abu Dhabi-Dubai motorway, construction of interchanges to the terminal and long-term car park, and an underpass for local traffic, as well as special lighting for the section of the motorway below the aircraft-approach path.

selgazzar@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter @Ind_Insights

Published: May 5, 2014 04:00 AM

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