Abu Dhabi airport celebrates 40 years

Original terminal was designed by the late French architect Paul Andreu

Abu Dhabi International Airport celebrated its 40th birthday on Sunday, state news agency Wam has reported.

Construction began in 1979 and it opened on January 2, 1982.

The airport replaced Al Bateen Airport, which still operates today, chiefly for private and charter planes.

It was designed by Paul Andreu, the late French architect who was also behind Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

Terminal 1 originally featured a main circular satellite terminal around which planes could arrive and depart quickly.

terminal 1 -- -- Handout photos for Abu Dhabi Airport. Received August 2015 for Business story. 
CREDIT: Courtesy Abu Dhabi Airports *** Local Caption ***  terminal 1_interior_2.jpg

Its centrepiece is the circular main waiting area, which resembles a palm tree.

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the terminal was expanded to cater for the increase in passenger numbers.

Etihad became the national carrier and the home airline in 2003, which was a catalyst for rapid growth and paved the way for the opening of Terminal 2 in September 2005, a second runway in 2008 and Terminal 3 in January 2009.

“Abu Dhabi International has a proud history of providing world-class infrastructure and top-flight service, while serving as a catalyst for growth for 40 of our proud nation’s 50 years of achievement,” said Shareef Al Hashmi, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Airports.

“As consumer confidence rebounds and traffic gradually recovers, we will continue to explore new technologies, products and ways of doing business that will drive improved sustainability and create industry-leading airport experiences. As proud as we are of our past achievements, we are equally excited about our bright future.”

Abu Dhabi's new Midfield Terminal when it opens will set the course for an even brighter aviation future.

“Abu Dhabi International Airport has connected the world to Abu Dhabi for 40 years and fuelled the emirate’s emergence as a leading destination for tourism, trade and commerce,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoon, chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports.

“It was the late [Founding Father] Sheikh Zayed ... who had the foresight to build the airport, and thanks to his vision Abu Dhabi Airports has built a legacy forged by collaboration, innovation and service,” he said.

“It is a legacy that will continue to grow over the next 40 years, as it supports the ongoing social and economic development of Abu Dhabi and the UAE.”

Updated: January 3rd 2022, 8:16 AM