The new terminal at Zayed International Airport (AUH) in Abu Dhabi could link up to the UAE’s growing rail network with plans in progress according to the CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports (ADA). 

Speaking to Airport Technology during a tour of the new Terminal A at AUH, CEO Elena Sorlini said that ADA was planning on improving the transport links to the site. to support its growing list of flight destinations.

She said: “Connectivity is absolutely key and it is only going to become more and more important when we open [air] connections to Oman and Saudi Arabia. 

“So we are working on a plan to get the airport connected to the rail system.” 

The new air terminal opened in November 2023 and is part of the airport’s plan to increase its passenger traffic in line with the country’s wider growth plans, along with projects such as the rail network being built by Etihad Rail. 

Sorlini, who previously worked at Emirati sovereign wealth fund ADQ, confirmed the connections between ADA and Etihad Rail, both part of ADQ’s portfolio, as an area of potential growth.

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Construction of the Etihad Rail network began in 2016 and has seen 900km of track laid across the country, with the project marking the end of its second building stage in February 2023

Despite this, the network has yet to begin full passenger operations though the first service between Abu Dhabi and Al Dhannah was conducted earlier this year.

In addition to spanning the UAE’s seven emirates, the network will also run to Saudi Arabia and Oman, improving links within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.

The improvement of infrastructure throughout the GCC was also mentioned by Sorlini as she highlighted the benefits to Abu Dhabi of growth elsewhere.

She said: “We’re also talking about Saudi opening up to tourism and Oman has big plans there. The important thing is that all of the GCC region becomes a tourist destination.”

During Airport Technology‘s trip to Abu Dhabi it also spoke to Etihad’s Chief Revenue and Commercial Officer about the airline’s focus on fleet efficiency as part of its sustainability efforts.