Airport operator Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) has started operational readiness and the testing of facilities at its newly constructed midfield terminal building (MTB) at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).
As part of the operational readiness plan, a baggage handling system has been commissioned at the new terminal, which is being constructed with an investment of AED10bn ($2.72bn).
ADAC CEO Bryan Thompson told gulfnews.com: “When MTB opens we will have excess capacity, which will allow us to attract demand and grow the UAE’s aviation sector more broadly and very rapidly.
“We can confirm that operational readiness and testing has commenced in various parts of the building to make sure that we are gearing up and creating confidence both within ADAC but also within the airlines that are going to operate.”
He expressed hope that the new terminal, which will have an annual passenger handling capacity of 45 million, will become operational in the fourth quarter of this year.
“We are working towards a date to have that operational but for now we are keeping that under wraps,” Thompson told the publication.
Once completed, the Midfield Terminal will cover an area of 742,000m². In addition to the existing terminals, the new facility will be capable of handling the increasing number of passengers flying to and from the airport each year.
Abu Dhabi Airports is also looking to increase point-to-point (origin and destination) traffic by an additional 1.4 million passengers by 2021.
The new terminal, which was originally scheduled to open in 2017, will provide 35,000m² of duty-free shopping, dining and entertainment space. ADAC said that the new terminal will be able to process 11,000 passengers and 19,200 pieces of luggage per hour.
As part of its next phase of development, the airport is also working to strengthen its free zone and property development portfolio.
Thompson added: “We have reduced our fees by 66% over the past year. It allows us to have a tax-free environment with 0% charges on imports and exports. There are no currency restrictions and no real restrictions on what type of businesses can trade within it.”