When Will Abu Dhabi’s New Terminal Finally Open?

Originally expected to be operational in the first half of 2017, Abu Dhabi’s Midfield Terminal project is still yet to be completed. However, recent reports indicate that an opening date for the mega-project is expected to be announced this year as the terminal facility nears completion.

A digital rendering of the Abu Dhabi Midfield. Photo: The Design Solution

According to Breaking Travel News, the terminal is now undergoing the final process of testing and commissioning. Having been conceived roughly a decade ago, and under construction for about the last seven years, this project has been a long time coming.

What the new terminal has to offer

Here are additional statistics as provided by the project’s website:

  • Piers will accommodate up to 65 aircraft, including the Airbus A380
  • Check-in is capable of handling around 8,500 passengers per hour
  • Check-in will provide 165 conventional counters and 48 self-service kiosks
  • Baggage system is designed to process over 19,000 bags per hour with over 22 kilometers of conveying lines and 10 reclaim carousels
  • 136 security screening lanes for passengers, with a further 25 for staff
  • The building will be constructed using approximately 69,000 tons of steel, more than 680,000 cubic meters of concrete, and nearly 500,000 square meters of steel and glass cladding, 135,000 tons of rebar, 360,000 square meters of suspended ceilings and 325,000 square meters of natural stone flooring

In terms of dining, 10,000 square meters have been allocated for international restaurants and cafes. Additionally, 27,500 square meters have been set aside for airline hospitality lounges, a transit hotel, and even a “heritage and culture museum”.


Looking at lounge construction and management, Kuwaiti company National Aviation Services (NAS) will be handling the contract. In Kuwait, the Pearl Lounge is one example of the company’s projects. In fact, from Uganda to Afghanistan, NAS has a diverse portfolio of work.

“Our partnership with NAS and Airport Dimensions represents an exciting development for the future passengers of the Midfield Terminal, as the new lounge will provide an unparalleled customer experience for those travelling through Abu Dhabi International Airport.” -Bryan Thompson, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Airports

The Design Solution has been designing the retail space of Abu Dhabi’s new Midfield Terminal. Photo: The Design Solution

Big focus on retail

Retail and high-end commercial space seems to be a key feature of the new terminal facility. In fact, 18,000 square meters has been dedicated to shopping. This will include luxury goods and designer outlets.

A major player in the new terminal’s retail design is UK firm The Design Solution. The company’s services range from feasibility studies to lighting design to branding strategy. It has projects all around the world – from Switzerland to Thailand. In total its 331 projects (and counting) can be seen across 55 countries, 125 airports, and 149 terminals.

“The variety of different design challenges that the Midfield Terminal has generated was extraordinary. Dramatic Icon stores, four arcades, retail pods, a flowing sinuous duty free shop inside are just a few highlights within an incredible structure. The terminal is set to create a benchmark for the rest to follow.” Robbie Gill, Managing Director, The Design Solution

Retail is a huge focus of the airport. Photo: The Design Solution


This is one of several new terminals in the middle east region either opening soon or recently opened. Once Midfield terminal finally opens, we look forward to hearing what travelers going to or through Abu Dhabi have to say about it.

Do you think this project is over the top with funds better spent elsewhere? Or is it a smart move as it will provide capacity far into the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


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I think it’s amazing. Well done


The delay says more about the issues facing its biggest customer. Etihad is only around because of money being plowed into it by the rich sheikhs.

Ramesh kapur

Mid is the cost of project of this gigantic task?


I still remember the delays to the opening of the new airports in Doha and Istanbul. They were delayed, but when opened, they attracted passengers like magnets. Doha is routinely voted amongst the world’s best airports, and I am convinced Istanbul will get there too.


I have seen it


While I do love Etihad, they have been losing hundred thousands of dollars DAILY. AUH is a 70 mins drive from DXB (Dubai/Emirates airport), and a mere 55 mins from DWC (Dubai’s newer airport that is supposed to take over as Emirates main hub in the medium term). Emirates is… Read more »

Yasser Khorshed

I believe that AD achived the target passanger level very fast and the current terminal will not be able to handle the coming growth expected. If they eased the residential and the investment role they can attract a lot of retirees and investors.The daily may be due to change in… Read more »


i m working 2 years this airport


Better planning and spending on this kind of infrastructure project will support the present and future generation in a big way.

Fazal Raziq

Etihad Airport Services catering


Smart move. Thinking in the future


When Will Abu Dhabi’s New Terminal Finally Open? hi there is no matins to when open this terminal , please matins when its open ?


when it will open


The current AUH airport is operating beyond its capacity at summer and holiday seasons. the new terminal is brilliant and desperately needed for Etihad. However, im worried that the two low cost carriers ( Air Arabia & Wizz Air ) that are set set to operate in the new terminal… Read more »