Abu Dhabi International Airport

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Abu Dhabi International Airport

مطار أبوظبي الدولي
Abu Dhabi Airport logo.svg
Airport typePublic
OperatorAbu Dhabi Airports Company
ServesAbu Dhabi
Hub for
Time zoneUAE Standard Time (UTC+04:00)
Elevation AMSL88 ft / 27 m
Coordinates24°25′59″N 054°39′04″E / 24.43306°N 54.65111°E / 24.43306; 54.65111Coordinates: 24°25′59″N 054°39′04″E / 24.43306°N 54.65111°E / 24.43306; 54.65111
OMAA is located in United Arab Emirates
Location in the UAE
OMAA is located in Asia
OMAA (Asia)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
13R/31L 4,100 13,451 Asphalt
13L/31R 4,100 13,451 Asphalt
Statistics (2016)
Passenger movements24,482,119 (Increase5.1%)
Aircraft movements207,486 (Increase8.6%)
Cargo tonnage984,388 Increase13.8%

Abu Dhabi International Airport (Arabic: مطار أبو ظبي الدولي‎) (IATA: AUH, ICAO: OMAA) is an international airport in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

The airport, located 16.5 nautical miles (30.6 km; 19.0 mi) east[1] of Abu Dhabi city, is the second largest in the UAE after Dubai International Airport, serving around 20 million passengers in 2014. It has three operational passenger terminals: Terminal 1 (divided into Terminals 1A and 1B), Terminal 2, Terminal 3. Abu Dhabi International Airport is spread over an area of 3,400 hectares (8,500 acres). Its terminal spaces are dominated by Etihad Airways, which is the United Arab Emirates' national carrier and second largest in the UAE after Emirates. More than 30 airlines offered service to over 120 destinations in more than 60 countries.[2]


Early years[edit]

The airport was first conceived in 1974, in response to the government's plans to modernize the then brand new nation. At the time, Al Bateen Airport (then called Abu Dhabi International Airport) was the main international airport serving the city (Abu Dhabi Airfield was the other old airport). Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan had realized that it was hard to access the airport, as it was located on Abu Dhabi Island and that the island at the time was connected to the mainland by only one bridge. Also, the city was expanding at the time, making it harder for the airport to expand.[3]

During the late 1970s, a location for the building site was strategically located, so it could be easily accessible. Construction started by 1979 and the airport was inaugurated on January 2, 1982. The old airport's name was changed to Al Bateen airport and the new airport was given its previous name.[3]

The new airport included a circular satellite terminal (with aerobridges) with a single connection to a semi-circular terminal.[4][5] This design allowed more aircraft to park simultaneously. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, substantial work was carried out on the satellite terminal, to cater for the increase in passenger numbers, including widening the passenger waiting areas and creating extra parking spots. The main terminal also underwent some external changes, especially on the outer facade.

Development since the 2000s[edit]

Aerial view prior to the construction of Terminal 3 and the new midfield terminal

With the withdrawal of support for regional airline Gulf Air after nearly five decades, Etihad became the new airline to be based at the airport. It received full support from the UAE government and has come a long way since its inaugural flight in 2003. Previous Gulf Air CEO James Hogan also transferred to Etihad, bringing aviation industry knowledge and experience.

Terminal 2 was built and opened in September 2005 to relieve the pressure on the main terminal.[6] Terminal 2, however, does not have aerobridges and uses buses to move passengers between aircraft and the terminal building. A second runway (Runway 13L/31R) was opened in October 2008 to cater to increased traffic. Terminal 3 was opened in January 2009. It is primarily used by Etihad Airways.[6] The new Terminal 3, a AED 1 billion (US$270 million) interim facility, was designed to allow for the airport's passenger growth before the planned opening of the new Midfield Terminal in December 2017 (which was eventually deferred by 2 years). Used predominantly by Etihad Airways, the terminal boosted the airport's seven million passenger per year capacity to 12 million. It also added 10 new gates, two of which are Airbus A380 compatible.[7]

During the early years of operation, there were no means of getting to the airport from the cities except for private vehicle or taxis. With the creation of Abu Dhabi's bus network in the late 2000s and 2010s, city-to-airport bus services were introduced.[8]

In December 2011, the government of Abu Dhabi signed a letter of intent to build a United States border preclearance facility similar to pre-clearance customs facilities in Canada, Aruba, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Ireland.[9] Etihad operated its first flight to the U.S. from the facility January 25, 2014.[10][11][12] In 2011, the airport was awarded 2nd Best Airport in Middle East of the Airport Service Quality Awards by Airports Council International[13][14] The airport celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2012.[15]

Rotana Jet was another airline based at the airport, however it suspended all flights indefinitely in 2017.[16]

On 26 July 2018, Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed to have launched a drone attack at the airport. The UAE denied there was any drone attack but stated earlier that there was an "incident" involving a truck which did not disrupt flights or cause any delays.[17] Two other alleged claims on a drone attack on the airport were reported by the Houthis, as well as two attacks on Dubai International Airport, all which were denied and unverified. An investigation by Bellingcat concluded "it is highly likely that a Houthi-led drone attack did not take place in Abu Dhabi and Dubai...Propaganda usage in the form of infographics, pictures and statements by Houthi leaders were pronounced following each claim, following a propaganda pattern."[18] According to Reuters, the UAE has an advanced air defense system which utilizes Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), designed to destroy short and intermediary range missiles both inside and outside the Earth's atmosphere.[19] In 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported that a Houthi drone "exploded at Abu Dhabi International airport".[20] Almost a year later in May 2019, the Houthi-run Almasirah TV channel broadcast alleged footage of the July 2018 attack.[21]


Exterior of Terminal 2
Interior of Terminal 1


Abu Dhabi International Airport consists of three passenger Terminals named Terminals 1, 2 and 3:[22]

  • Terminal 1 is the oldest facility, featuring a bi-level arrivals and departures area. The nine main gates (3–11) are equipped with jetbridges and located in a circular gate area while the check-in and arrivals facilities are located in a separate main building connected to this satellite. There are also several bus boarding gates.[22]
  • Terminal 2 is a newer facility to the east of Terminal 1 and not connected to it. It features 19 check-in counters, 3 bus-boarding gates and two baggage claim belts and is mostly used by low-cost carriers.[22]
  • Terminal 3 is the newest addition and a direct expansion to the western side of Terminal 1. It is a brick-shaped, bi-level facility featuring a large duty-free and food court area as well as departure gates 28–35 and 58–61, several of which are bus-boarding gates.[22] Terminal 3 is capable of handling the Airbus A380s, mainly for Etihad Airways.

City terminal[edit]

A check-in facility exists in downtown Abu Dhabi, for travelers who want to check in at the downtown city centre before they travel to the airport. This facility, known as the City Terminal, resembles an airport terminal building and has lounge and transport facilities. After having checked-in at the City Terminal, travelers can arrive at the airport just one hour before the departure of their flight. A further check in facility is operated by Etihad Airways at the Etihad Travel Mall on the outskirts of Dubai.[23]


Abu Dhabi International Airport has two parallel runways, 13R/31L and 13L/31R. Both are 4,100 m × 60 m (13,450 ft × 200 ft).[24]


Midfield terminal[edit]

Development work has started on a new passenger terminal, the main building and centerpiece of the new airport, to be between the two runways and known as the Midfield Terminal. Upon completion in 2019 (it was due to open on July 7, 2017, then pushed back to early 2019 in time for the 2019 Special Olympics, and now delayed until Q4 of 2019[25]), the Midfield Terminal will increase the airport's passenger capacity to more than 30 million per year, with options for this to double in capacity to 60 million.[26] An additional facility is under consideration that would take the capacity to 80 million. The general exterior of the terminal was designed by international architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates.

Other facilities[edit]

The expansion master plan projects include a third 4,100 m (13,500 ft) parallel runway, 2,000 m (6,562 ft) from the existing runways, a new 110 m (360 ft) tower between the two runways with the new Air Traffic Control centre, enhanced cargo and maintenance facilities, and other commercial developments on the land immediately adjacent to and north of the airport. Having a total of 34 square kilometres (13 sq mi) of vast land area, the ambitious project will provide a home base for the UAE's national carrier, Etihad Airways, which will be a major user of new cargo facilities with an ultimate handling capacity of around two million tonnes of freight a year. Close to the new cargo facilities, land has been allocated for commercial activities, business parks, and property developments. Aircraft maintenance facilities will continue to be concentrated on the south side of the existing airport. The plan sets aside land for the growth of other operators such as Royal Jet and Abu Dhabi Aviation. Among other aspects of the project, when completed, are the design of remote aircraft stands complete with airfield ground lighting and hydrant fuel.

US Border Preclearance[edit]

Abu Dhabi International Airport has United States border preclearance facilities since 26 January 2014, the only airport in the Middle East to have such facility.[27] Passengers on direct flights to the United States are processed for entry before they board their planes. This facility is similar to those in selected Canadian, Caribbean and Irish airports. This provision of this facility attracted some controversy as it was said to only benefit Etihad, as one of the sole two carriers which flew directly between the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Airlines and destinations[edit]


The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights to and from Abu Dhabi:[28]

Air India Mumbai
Air India Express Delhi, Kannur,[29] Kochi, Kozhikode, Mangalore, Thiruvananthapuram
airBaltic[30] Seasonal: Riga
airblue Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar
Azur Air Seasonal charter: Moscow–Vnukovo (begins 7 November 2019)[31]
Biman Bangladesh Airlines Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet1
British Airways London–Heathrow
EgyptAir Cairo
Etihad Airways[32] Ahmedabad, Amman–Queen Alia, Amsterdam, Athens, Bahrain, Baku, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Barcelona, Bengaluru, Beijing–Capital, Beirut, Belgrade, Brisbane, Brussels, Cairo, Casablanca, Chengdu, Chennai, Chicago–O'Hare, Colombo–Bandaranaike, Dammam, Delhi, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hong Kong, Hyderabad, Islamabad, Istanbul, Jakarta–Soekarno–Hatta, Jeddah, Johannesburg–OR Tambo, Karachi, Kathmandu, Khartoum, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuwait City, Lagos, Lahore, London–Heathrow, Los Angeles, Madrid, Mahé, Malé, Manchester, Manila, Medina, Melbourne, Minsk, Milan–Malpensa, Moscow–Domodedovo, Mumbai, Munich, Muscat, Nagoya–Centrair, Nairobi–Jomo Kenyatta, New York–JFK, Nur-Sultan, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Phuket, Rabat, Riyadh, Rome–Fiumicino, Seoul–Incheon, Shanghai–Pudong, Singapore, Sydney, Thiruvananthapuram, Tokyo–Narita, Toronto–Pearson, Washington–Dulles, Zurich
Seasonal: Alexandria–Borg El Arab,[33] Salalah[33]
GoAir Delhi,[34] Kannur, Mumbai[34]
Gulf Air Bahrain
Himalaya Airlines[35] Kathmandu
IndiGo Delhi, Kochi, Kozhikode, Mumbai
KLM Amsterdam
Kuwait Airways Kuwait
Middle East Airlines Beirut
Oman Air Muscat
Pakistan International Airlines Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Rahim Yar Khan, Sialkot
Pegasus Airlines[36] Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen
Royal Jordanian Amman–Queen Alia
SalamAir Salalah,[37] Muscat[38]
Saudia Jeddah, Riyadh
SriLankan Airlines Colombo–Bandaranaike
Sudan Airways Khartoum
Syrian Air[39] Damascus
TUI fly Deutschland Seasonal charter: Frankfurt (begins 11 November 2019)[40]
Turkish Airlines Istanbul
Turkmenistan Airlines[41] Aşgabat
  • ^1 Biman Bangladesh Airlines' flight from Abu Dhabi to Dhaka makes a stop at Sylhet. However, the flight from Dhaka to Abu Dhabi is non-stop.


DHL Aviation Bahrain, Kabul, Karachi, Lahore
Etihad Cargo[42] Amsterdam,[42] Bangalore,[42] Bogotá,[43] Bridgetown,[42] Chennai,[44] Chittagong,[42] Colombo–Bandaranaike,[42] Columbus,[42] Dammam,[42] East Midlands,[42] Frankfurt,[42] Hanoi,[42] Shanghai–Pudong[42]
Star Air Aviation Karachi

Ground transportation[edit]


Abu Dhabi International Airport is connected to the Emirate and its surroundings, including Dubai and Al Ain, by a highway network.[45] Route E20 directly passes the airport. Car rental, taxis and dedicated chauffeur services are available.[45]

Public transport[edit]

The Department of Transport provides five bus routes from the airport throughout Abu Dhabi which run 24 hours a day, including line A1 which leads to the city center.[45] Etihad Airways additionally provides a coach service from Abu Dhabi International Airport to Al Ain and Downtown Dubai.[46] The airport's new midfield terminal will be connected to the Abu Dhabi Metro, however no construction has commenced for the metro, light rail or BRT.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On September 23, 1983, Gulf Air Flight 771 crashed while on approach to Abu Dhabi International Airport. All 112 passengers and crew on board were killed. A bomb going off in the baggage hold of the aircraft was the cause of the accident.[47]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Etihad Airways Route Map". flights.etihad.com. Retrieved 2017-09-17.
  3. ^ a b "Google Translate". translate.google.com. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  4. ^ "History – About Us – Al Bateen Executive Airport". Archived from the original on 21 April 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  5. ^ "Photos: Airbus A330-223 Aircraft Pictures - Airliners.net". Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Development at a Glance | About Abu Dhabi International Airport | Airport Information | Abu Dhabi International Airport". Abudhabiairport.ae. Retrieved 2018-09-02.
  7. ^ "Abu Dhabi International Airport". Abu Dhabi International Airport. 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
  8. ^ "Bus Transportation". Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  9. ^ "U.S. Security Expands Presence at Foreign Airports". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-05-19.
  10. ^ "US pilots slam Abu Dhabi airport facility move". Trade Arabia. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  11. ^ Caline Malek (January 25, 2014). "First flight departs to US using Customs checkpoint in Abu Dhabi". The National. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  12. ^ "The Abu Dhabi Pre-clearance Facility: Implications for U.S. Businesses and National Security: Hearing before the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Thirteenth Congress, First Session, July 10, 2013".
  13. ^ https://www.teechusells.co.uk/airports-vip-lounge-pass.html[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "ASQ Award for Best Airport in Middle East" Airports Council International. 14 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-13
  15. ^ "Three decades of success". ABUDHABI AIRPORT. Archived from the original on 15 January 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  16. ^ "UAE's Rotana Jet suspends all flights". ArabianBusiness.com. Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  17. ^ 27 Jul 2018 17:41 GMT (2018-07-27). "Yemen's rebels 'attack' Abu Dhabi airport using a drone | Yemen News". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 2019-08-12.
  18. ^ Investigating Houthi Claims of Drone Attacks on UAE Airports Bellingcat, 7 Nov. 2018, retrieved 7 June 2019.
  19. ^ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-emirates-attack/uae-denies-report-of-houthi-drone-attack-on-abu-dhabi-airport-idUSKBN1KG23W
  20. ^ Mideast Insurgents Enter the Age of Drone Warfare Wall Street Journal, 2 May 2019, retrieved 7 June 2019.
  21. ^ Yemen's Houthi rebel TV broadcasts footage showing drone attack on Abu Dhabi airport in 2018 Xinhua, 23 May 2019, retrieved 7 June 2019
  22. ^ a b c d abudhabiairport.com – Terminal Maps retrieved 8 September 2018
  23. ^ Bibbo', Barbara (2004-07-28). "Easy check-in facilities draw air travellers to city terminal". gulfnews.com. Gulf News. Archived from the original on 2014-10-01. Retrieved 2014-10-01.
  24. ^ United Arab Emirates AIP Archived December 30, 2013, at the Wayback Machine (login required)
  25. ^ "Abu Dhabi Midfield Terminal to open in fourth quarter of 2019".
  26. ^ "Midfield Terminal Complex Development". ABUDHABI AIRPORT. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  27. ^ "US Customs pre-clearance facility opens in UAE". Yahoo! News Philippines. January 28, 2014. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  28. ^ abudhabiairport.ae – Our Destinations retrieved 16 February 2019
  29. ^ "Kannur Airport: Ticket booking to start on Monday". mathrubhumi.com. Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  30. ^ Feb 24, 2017 Kurt Hofmann (2017-02-24). "AirBaltic to launch CS300 long-haul flights to Abu Dhabi | Airports & Routes content from". ATWOnline. Retrieved 2017-04-17.
  31. ^ Liu, Jim (3 October 2019). "AZUR Air adds Abu Dhabi service from Nov 2019". routesonline.com.
  32. ^ flights.etihad.com – Routemap retrieved 16 February 2019
  33. ^ a b "Etihad Airways announces new seasonal routes to Alexandria and Salalah". etihad.com. 28 February 2019.
  34. ^ a b "GoAir expands International network in July/August 2019". routesonline.com. 16 July 2019.
  35. ^ "Himalaya Airlines adds Abu Dhabi service in S19". routesonline. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  36. ^ "Pegasus adds new international routes from June 2017". routesonline. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  37. ^ "Salam Air network expansion in S19". routesonline.com. 21 February 2019.
  38. ^ "Salam Air outlines further network expansion in S19". Routesonline. Retrieved 2019-08-12.
  39. ^ "Destination". www.syriaair.com.
  40. ^ "TUIfly adds UAE Scheduled charters in W19". routesonline.com. 11 June 2019.
  41. ^ Liu, Jim. (2 May 2017). "Turkmenistan Airlines adds Abu Dhabi flights in S17". Routesonline. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  42. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l arabianaerospace.com – Etihad Cargo introduces new freighter network 21 September 2018
  43. ^ "Fleet Information". Etihad Cargo. 2017-01-01. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  44. ^ "Fleet Information". flightradar24. 2017-01-01. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  45. ^ a b c abudhabiairport.ae – To and from the airport retrieved 16 September 2018
  46. ^ etihad.com – Book coach retrieved 16 September 2018
  47. ^ Archives, Compiled by Gulf News (3 September 2010). "Timeline: Plane crashes in the UAE".

External links[edit]

Media related to Abu Dhabi International Airport at Wikimedia Commons