Abu Dhabi International Airport has reopened its newly renovated southern runway.
The airport is preparing for the start of operations of the midfield terminal complex (MTC) in 2017. Once completed, it will increase capacity to more than 45 million passengers annually.
The airport opened the runway with an A380 take-off and landing, and was officially inaugurated by the chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports and the company's board of directors Ali Majed Al Mansoori.
Etihad Airways' Airbus A380 and Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft, which were unveiled last week, are scheduled to use the runway.
The refurbishment and widening phase elevated it to code 'F' standard, making it capable of accommodating the world's largest super-jumbo aircraft.
Abu Dhabi Airports was formally handed the runway's operational certification by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).
With the renovation, the combined capacity will reach 500,000 aircraft movements every year, making it one of the largest two-runway operations in the world.
Construction Week Online quoted Al Mansoori as saying: "I am proud to announce the successful delivery of the southern runway renovation project, a major milestone in the development of Abu Dhabi International Airport.
"Today's event is important not just for Abu Dhabi Airports but also for Abu Dhabi as a whole, as the emirate continues to stamp its mark on the world as a major transportation hub and an attractive destination for both tourists and businesses."
In addition to the runway renovation, the Southern Airfield Programme also included an airside tunnel measuring more than 1.2km in length, which will connect the MTC with the Terminals 1 and 3.
The 21 additional wide-body aircraft that have been built along the apron will help accommodate increased movement. A total of $226m has been invested in the Southern Airfield Programme.
Image: The departure terminal at Abu Dhabi International Airport. Photo: courtesy of Abu Dhabi Airports.