When Will Abu Dhabi Airport’s New Terminal Open?


It has been a number of years since I’ve written about this terminal, so I determine it’s time for an replace…

Abu Dhabi Airport’s midfield terminal fundamentals

A few years in the past, development began on a brand new midfield terminal at Abu Dhabi Worldwide Airport. The brand new terminal was supposed to extend the airport’s capability by as much as 45 million passengers per 12 months, greater than doubling the prevailing capability. The terminal is a complete of 742,000 sq. meters.

Again in 2017, the plan was for the brand new terminal to open that very same 12 months. Nevertheless, sooner or later through the 12 months there was a sudden delay of two years, that means the terminal was then imagined to open in 2019. They even ran trials on the terminal again in 2019 with volunteers, making it seem to be the terminal could be opening quickly.

As of early 2020, the official plan was for the terminal to open later this 12 months. Now that we’re moving into the later a part of 2020, what’s the plan for the brand new terminal opening?

When is Abu Dhabi’s new terminal opening?

Final month, the SVP of Industrial at Abu Dhabi Airport left his place. On the time he was requested in regards to the newest on the standing of the midfield terminal. His response was that he doesn’t envision the terminal opening till mid to late 2021. As he defined in an interview:

“The entire venture has now sadly floor to a halt because of Covid-19. We misplaced a 12 months inside 12 months. Once I returned to ADAC in 2018 my job was to renegotiate all of the contracts, as a result of with Etihad Airways downsizing in 2015/2016 and passenger numbers consequentially plummeting, many of the contracts have been unsustainable for Midfield.

That was my job and I’ve achieved that. However clearly – because of the important impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and one other unlucky delay to the opening – it’s all going to must occur once more. I couldn’t face one other spherical of renegotiating contracts.”

It appears like it is going to be a minimum of one other 12 months till Abu Dhabi’s new midfield terminal opens, and even that appears optimistic at this level.

May the venture be deserted altogether?

There’s no want for Abu Dhabi’s midfield terminal anymore, plain and easy. At the least that’s the case when it comes to capability.

Development on the terminal began at a time the place Etihad was making an attempt to turn out to be an enormous international participant, and go head-to-head in opposition to Emirates. That technique failed, because the airline misplaced billions of {dollars}, determined to restructure, and now intends to turn out to be a smaller, extra boutique airline.

Etihad is trying to shrink, somewhat than develop

All of that was the case earlier than this pandemic even began. Now with this pandemic, the state of affairs is much more dire, and IATA predicts demand gained’t get well till 2024.

Realistically talking, if the brand new terminal have been to open anytime within the subsequent few years, it might be solely so as to improve the passenger expertise, and never as a result of there’s every other motive for it. And I’ve a tough time imagining that can occur.

Then there’s Dubai World Central Airport

Dubai World Central Airport has been open since 2013, and was imagined to turn out to be one of many largest airports on the planet, dealing with as much as 230 million passengers per 12 months. Nevertheless:

  • Enlargement on the airport has been frozen
  • Emirates was supposed to maneuver operations to Dubai World Central sooner or later, however that’s not within the playing cards for now
  • Since Dubai World Central is between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, there has lengthy been discuss that we might finally see Emirates and Etihad merge, and co-locate there

I’d word that the idea of an Emirates and Etihad merger and relocation to Dubai World Central has been a subject for a few years. The politics concerned are sophisticated and it’s a motive we’d not see this, even when it’s in any other case rational.

An Emirates & Etihad merger is rational, however unlikely

Backside line

Abu Dhabi Airport’s new midfield terminal was imagined to open again in 2017, however the opening has been delayed a number of instances. The terminal is sort of completed (and has been nearly completed for over a 12 months), however that doesn’t imply the terminal shall be opening.

There’s merely no justification to open this if Etihad isn’t going to develop, and that’s not even considering the impression of coronavirus.

Whereas a mid to late 2021 opening is envisioned at this level, that also appears extremely unlikely. Personally I wouldn’t be shocked if this terminal doesn’t open within the subsequent 5 years, and wouldn’t even be shocked if the venture is deserted, regardless of how far alongside it’s.

What are your predictions for Abu Dhabi’s midfield terminal?


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