Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, on Tuesday toured the capital's new airport terminal on the eve of its long-awaited launch.
Sheikh Khaled was briefed on the facilities at Abu Dhabi International Airport's Terminal A, which will begin operations on Wednesday.
He was told how the international transport link will support growth in the aviation sector and help to drive tourism.
Terminal A will double the airport's current capacity – and will be able to handle up to 45 million passengers per year.
Sheikh Khaled hailed the key project as a significant step forward for the emirate's economic and sustainable development, Abu Dhabi Media Office said.
He underlined the importance of continued investment to further strengthen the tourism and aviation sectors.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad, Adviser for Special Affairs at the Ministry of Presidential Court and chairman of the board of directors of Abu Dhabi Airports, said the mega project will act as a "major gateway" to boost Abu Dhabi's position on the global stage.
“The new terminal is a significant addition to Abu Dhabi’s infrastructure that will double capacity and increase economic growth for the emirate," he said.
“With an increased passenger capacity, the terminal will enhance Abu Dhabi’s network of global destinations and create new commercial opportunities, reflecting the leadership’s focus to advance the aviation sector as a means of contributing to the local economy. The terminal will serve as a major gateway that will connect people, cultures and businesses from across the world.”
Three times the size of the old terminal, and with flights to 117 destinations globally, it will increase the frequency and reach of flights to and from Abu Dhabi, airport officials have said.
The major opening comes amid a massive boom in air travel as the aviation industry continues to rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic, when flights were grounded around the world.
“The upcoming launch of operations at Terminal A marks an incredible milestone in Abu Dhabi's journey as a global hub for travel and tourism,” Saood Al Hosani, undersecretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi, recently told The National.
The terminal will have nine main biometric touchpoints including self-service baggage drops, immigration e-gates and boarding gates, Abu Dhabi Airport said.
“Terminal A will prioritise the passenger experience, facilitating a streamlined service from kerb-to-gate,” the operator said.
When fully operational, it will use facial recognition technology to screen passengers and minimise waiting times. An advanced baggage handling system will be able to process up to 19,200 bags an hour.
“Terminal A is poised to deliver a seamless passenger journey to travellers like never before,” Abu Dhabi Airports said.