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It almost sounded like 'Mission Impossible,' but Abu Dhabi’s new Terminal A is open after a delay of over six years. It should make customers consider Abu Dhabi as a viable option to transfer on their travels again.

Abu Dhabi, back in 2012, started construction on a new airport terminal that by 2017, was supposed to establish it as a hub for global air traffic. 

After a series of delays, “Terminal A” is finally open for use, with a ceremonial flight on October 31. You might have even caught a glimpse of it in “Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1” earlier this year.

Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Terminal A brings a major increase in capacity for the emirate’s commercial aviation sector, more than doubling the current passenger capacity, with the new facilities being able to process up to 45 million travelers annually. 

At triple the size of the previous terminals, Terminal A will handle 79 planes simultaneously and 11,000 passengers per hour.

The X-shaped building design helps improve operational efficiency and passenger flow, featuring four themed piers inspired by Abu Dhabi’s desert, sea, city and oasis natural landscapes. It also features the Sana Al Nour, which is one of the largest indoor public art features in the Middle East, standing at 22 meters tall and 17 meters wide.

Abu Dhabi International Airport’s New Tech Features

Biometrics will play a key role as the first airport in the world to include nine biometric touchpoints. 

In the first phase, biometric solutions will be installed in key areas, such as self-service bag drops, immigration eGates and boarding gates. It will use facial recognition technology to screen passengers and minimize wait times.

Combined with other facilities, including an advanced baggage handling system capable of processing up to 19,200 bags per hour, Terminal A aims to deliver a seamless passenger journey. 

Increasing to 65 parking stands connecting aircraft with allocated boarding gates allows for less congestion, a smooth boarding experience and an onward journey.

Terminal A will drastically reduce water consumption by 45%, while more than 7,500 solar panels power a 3MW plant that saves 5,300 tons of carbon dioxide annually. Meanwhile, a state-of-the-art Advanced Surface Movement Control System, the first of its kind in the Middle East, will allow planes to land quickly and safely during low-visibility weather conditions.

All flights will take off and land exclusively in Terminal A from November 15 onwards. Etihad will call Terminal A its home, and ultimately operate 16 daily flights. 

The airport’s U.S. preclearance facility will also transition to Terminal A on November 14, allowing customers flying non-stop to the U.S. from Abu Dhabi to complete their immigration at the airport itself and arrive in the U.S. as if on a domestic flight. 

On February 9, 2024, Abu Dhabi International Airport will be renamed Zayed International Airport. The new official name will coincide with the official opening ceremony of Terminal A.

First Class Check In at Abu Dhabi International Airport Terminal A

Etihad launches massive lounges at its new home

To coincide with its move to Terminal A, Etihad Airways has unveiled its premium lounges.

They span three floors of Terminal A’s north side, nestled between Piers C and D. The Etihad lounges are accessible to guests flying in Etihad’s The Residence, First and Business Class and Etihad Guest members with eligible tier status. Guests flying in Economy can also purchase access to Etihad’s Business Lounge.

The Lounge is conveniently located with access to three gates offering direct-lounge boarding on selected flights.

Etihad’s Business Class lounge features an array of dining experiences. Liwan Global Dining is Etihad Lounge’s informal, all-day dining restaurant.

The Constellation Bar within the Roof Lounge is decorated with a 172-piece, 25m-long bespoke glass lighting sculpture – Panora – which depicts the Abu Dhabi city skyline. 

The Relaxation Rooms provide private spaces with daybeds, Armani Casa furnishings, and 18 shower suites. 

The First lounge offers a dedicated reception lobby for Etihad’s most premium guests and a private elevator to access the Rooftop Lounge. 

In addition to the First and Business class lounges in Departures, premium guests arriving in Abu Dhabi with pre-booked chauffeur services will be invited to visit the Etihad Chauffeur Lounge to shower, refresh or grab a quick snack or drink.


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Tags: abu dhabi, business class, Etihad Airways, first class

Photo credit: Abu Dhabi International Airport Terminal A Abu Dhabi International Airport

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