Midfield Advances

The terminal is due to open in 2017, after four years of construction and a nine-month operational readiness assessment phase. (All images: ADAC)

Caroline Cook reports on the latest updates from the Midfield Terminal Complex development at Abu Dhabi International Airport, UAE.

The terminal is due to open in 2017, after four years of construction and a nine-month operational readiness assessment phase. (All images: ADAC)

Construction of the Midfield Terminal Complex (MTC) at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is due for completion in 2017.  After receiving approval a year ago from the Emirate’s local authority, the Executive Council, building work started last September, Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) has reported.
As part of the government’s Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 – a framework that aims to guide planning decisions – the multi-billion dirham investment programme is centred on the Midfield Terminal Building (MTB), a 7,534,737sq ft (700,000m2) facility capable of handling up to 30 million passengers per annum (mppa) and boosting AUH’s total capacity to 47mppa.
The terminal, between the airport’s two runways to ensure the quickest taxiing times, is expected to provide 299,237sq ft (27,800m2) of retail and food & beverage outlets.  It will feature a 170.6ft-tall (52m) ceiling, an undulating roof and inclined facades.  The airport company boasts that future passengers can expect a minimum connecting time of 45 minutes, including baggage transfer.
Up to eight airline lounges will be available, covering 296,008sq ft (27,500m2), and plans also include a 90,417sq ft (8,400m2) indoor park, with Mediterranean plants and features at its centre, bordered by desert landscapes.
Potential extensions to the finished terminal have also been put forward, including access for up to 20 parking stands dedicated to cargo services.
The MTB will have 65 gates (including eight capable of handling A380 aircraft) and 14 remote stands.  It is expected to have 156 check-in desks and 48 self-service kiosks, for use by up to 8,500 passengers an hour; multiple car parks with space for 4,500 vehicles; more than 4,300 CCTV cameras; 136 security screening lanes as well as a further 25 for staff;  and a three-star transit hotel.  Its baggage handling system with ten carousels will stretch more than 13.7 miles (22km) with a capacity of 19,000 bags an hour.
Breaking Ground
The MTC was developed by ADAC Planning & Development, while design and engineering were undertaken by an international team comprising Kohn Pederson Fox Associates, Arup, NACO and BNP Associates.
Following tenders received in November 2011, the AED10.8 billion (US$2.9bn) building contract was awarded to the joint venture of construction companies TAV, CCC and Arabtec in June 2012.  The project covers two key phases: four years of construction followed by a nine-month operational readiness assessment phase.  As well as the construction of the MTB, the development requires aircraft parking stands, terminal roadways, connecting roads to the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway and utility plants.

The MTB's design aims to achieve IATA's 'A' grade service levels.

Figures from TAV show the true scale of the MTC, with materials expected to amount to 84,000 tons of structural steel and 135,000 tons of reinforcing bars.  Roof cladding will cover 2,421,880sq ft (225,000m2) and façade cladding will envelop a further 2,152,782sq ft (200,000m2).  The 3,875,008sq ft (360,000m2) suspended ceiling is only slightly ahead of the 3,498,271sq ft (325,000m2) needed for the natural stone flooring.  Structural concrete for the project is due to amount to a staggering 22,601,387cu ft (640,000m3), enough to fill more than 250 Olympic swimming pools!
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is expected to be used extensively throughout the project, enabling the prediction of potential problems in a three-dimensional working environment as well as being an effective tool in facility management.
The MTB’s design focuses on the passenger experience, with the aim to achieve the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) level of service A, the highest level of space allocation for passenger processing areas.  It also intends to achieve a minimum Two Pearl rating under the Urban Planning Council’s Estidama approach towards sustainable design, where a project must attain credit points for environmental, economic, social and cultural sustainability – from concept to completion.
Several design elements are being implemented to minimise the development’s impact on the environment.  High performance, angled glass façades aim to increase air conditioning efficiency and reduce energy by allowing natural light to filter through to the building’s interior.  Solid cladding will be used on the building to reduce the adverse effects of the weather, such as fading from the sun.  Conservation plans include using waste water to irrigate plants outside the terminal.
Piling works for the terminal were completed immediately after the contract was signed and construction began in September last year.  Approximately 2,450 construction workers, including sub-contractors, are currently on the site, with numbers expected to rise to up to 15,000 during the peak construction period.