Abu Dhabi International Airport, operated by Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), is celebrating its 30th anniversary today. The hub has recorded over 126 million passengers since it opened in its current location – 24 miles (38km) from United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) capital city – on January 4, 1982.
When the airport opened, Terminal 1 covered 55,972sq ft (5,200m2) and handled 3 million passengers per annum (mppa). This then increased to 5mppa when Terminal 1A was opened in 2005.
ADAC’s Chairman HE Khalifa Al Mazrouei commented: “Already established as a major international hub for travellers around the globe, Abu Dhabi International Airport is committed to further developing into a leading airport in the region.”
Other expansion includes the opening of Terminal 2 in 2005 with a passenger capacity of 2mppa. In 2009, Terminal 3 was added with extra capacity for 5mppa, and providing national carrier Etihad Airways with a dedicated facility. The 13,451ft (4,100m)-long North Runway was opened in the same year, doubling the airport’s runway capacity and making the gateway the first in the UAE to gain CAT IIIB capability.
In the last year, the airport’s Air Traffic Control complex has been completed in order to cater for an anticipated growth in air traffic. Terminal 1 also underwent a refurbishment project.
Today, the airport handles 53 international airlines connecting to more than 85 destinations in 49 countries. Passenger numbers over the past six years have gone from 5.3mppa in 2006 to above 12mppa in 2011.
The hub boasts remote check-in facilities, self check-in kiosks, free WiFi, e-gates, children’s play areas and a selection of duty free outlets, various dining options and lounges. Over 200 businesses work within its facilities.
In November 2011, Abu Dhabi International became the first Carbon Accredited airport in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific region. It also hosted the first Airports Council International (ACI) Exhibition, Airport Exchange, in the Middle East.
Over the next five years, ADAC claims it will be focusing on the completion of the airport’s new Midfield Terminal Building, due to open in 2017. The 7,535,000sq ft (700,000m2) facility will allegedly be capable of handling 27-30mppa.