A plane takes off in front of Abu Dhabi International Airport

New Abu Dhabi Terminal Opens, Tripling Airport Capacity



November 2, 2023

2 min read

The new Terminal A officially opened at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) on November 1, 2023. The expansion is poised to almost triple the airport's capacity to 45 million passengers, up from an approximated 15.5 million in 2022.  

The first commercial flight from the new terminal, conducted by Etihad Airways, was an outbound flight to New Delhi. Terminal A will act as the new home for the UAE national carrier; 28 airlines in total will operate out of the new terminal. The full transition for airlines to the new terminal is expected to be completed by November 14. 

Terminal A gives the airport a needed refresh, infusing it with more shopping and dining options (163 to be exact), plus nicer, more up-to-date lounges. Also, once fully operational, it will be “the only airport globally to offer all 9 touchpoints in the biometric journey,” according to Abu Dhabi Airports, a big win for passengers, as this innovation will help speed things along in the security process and improve the overall airport experience. 

In addition to setting up the airport for more passenger traffic, the new terminal will also enable Abu Dhabi International Airport to expand its flight network, connecting more travelers to more destinations around the world. AUH is currently the second-largest airport in the UAE (after Dubai) and one of the fastest growing hubs in the world, serving 30 airlines and flying passengers to at least 100 destinations in 50 different countries.   

“The opening signals that Etihad wants to grow again,” says Daniel Burnham, Product Operations Program Manager at Going. “Over the past several years, they retrenched their route network, undergoing significant cost cuts, so this is a good opportunity for them to start adding new routes for the first time in several years.” 

In summer 2023, Etihad announced several new additions to its network that would commence later in the year and continue into 2024; these include Málaga, Mykonos, Lisbon, Kolkata, St. Petersburg, Dusseldorf, Copenhagen, and Osaka. In 2024, Etihad will also expand its reach in the US market by adding regular flights between Abu Dhabi and Boston. 

The possibility for cheaper flights through Abu Dhabi are also on the horizon, as ultra low-cost carriers, such as Air Arabia and Wizz Air, invest in growth between Europe and North Africa to Asia via the Middle East. 

Thinking this terminal looks sort of familiar? It probably is! The new building, totaling nearly 8 million square feet (among the largest airport terminals in the world), was prominently featured in the most recent Mission: Impossible before the terminal even opened to the public.

Published November 2, 2023

Last updated December 19, 2023

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