Abu Dhabi International Airport

مطار أبوظبي الدولي
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorAbu Dhabi Airports Company
ServesAbu Dhabi
Opened2 January 1982
(41 years ago)
Hub for
Time zoneUAE Standard Time (UTC+04:00)
Elevation AMSL88 ft / 27 m
Coordinates24°25′59″N 054°39′04″E / 24.43306°N 54.65111°E / 24.43306; 54.65111
AUH is located in United Arab Emirates
Location in the UAE
AUH is located in Persian Gulf
AUH (Persian Gulf)
AUH is located in Indian Ocean
AUH (Indian Ocean)
AUH is located in Middle East
AUH (Middle East)
AUH is located in West and Central Asia
AUH (West and Central Asia)
AUH is located in Asia
AUH (Asia)
AUH is located in Arab world
AUH (Arab world)
AUH is located in Eurasia
AUH (Eurasia)
AUH is located in Afro-Eurasia
AUH (Afro-Eurasia)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
13R/31L 4,100 13,451 Asphalt
13L/31R 4,100 13,451 Asphalt
Statistics (2021)
Passenger movements5,260,000 (Increase45.1%)
Aircraft movements74,176 (Increase21.5%)
Cargo tonnage711,715 (Increase31.8%)

Abu Dhabi International Airport (Arabic: مطار أبو ظبي الدولي) (IATA: AUH, ICAO: OMAA) is an international airport in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

The airport, located 16.5 nautical miles (30.6 km; 19.0 mi) east[2] of Abu Dhabi city, is the second largest in the UAE after Dubai International Airport, serving around 20 million passengers in 2014. It has three operational passenger terminals: Terminal 1 (divided into Terminals 1A and 1B), Terminal 2, and Terminal 3, served exclusively by Etihad Airways, the country's second flag carrier airline and the second largest airline in the UAE after Emirates. Abu Dhabi International Airport is spread over an area of 3,400 hectares (8,500 acres). More than 30 airlines offer service to over 120 destinations in more than 60 countries.[3]


Early years

The airport was first conceived in 1974, in response to the government's plans to modernize the then brand new nation. At the time, Al Bateen Airport (then called Abu Dhabi International Airport) was the main international airport serving the city (Abu Dhabi Airfield was the other old airport). Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan had realized that it was hard to access the airport, as it was located on Abu Dhabi Island and that the island at the time was connected to the mainland by only one bridge. Also, the city was expanding at the time, making it harder for the airport to expand.[4]

During the late 1970s, a location for the building site was strategically located, so it could be easily accessible. Construction started by 1979 and the airport was inaugurated on January 2, 1982. The old airport's name was changed to Al Bateen airport and the new airport was given its previous name.[4]

The new airport included a circular satellite terminal (with aerobridges) with a single connection to a semi-circular terminal.[5][6] This design allowed more aircraft to park simultaneously. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, substantial work was carried out on the satellite terminal, to cater for the increase in passenger numbers, including widening the passenger waiting areas and creating extra parking spots. The main terminal also underwent some external changes, especially on the outer facade.[citation needed]

Development since the 2000s

With the withdrawal of support for regional airline Gulf Air after nearly five decades, Etihad became the new airline to be based at the airport. It received full support from the UAE government and has come a long way since its inaugural flight in 2003. Previous Gulf Air CEO James Hogan also transferred to Etihad.

Terminal 2 was built and opened in September 2005 to relieve the pressure on the main terminal.[7] Terminal 2, however, does not have aerobridges and uses buses to move passengers between aircraft and the terminal building. A second runway (Runway 13L/31R) was opened in October 2008 to cater to increased traffic. Terminal 3 was opened in January 2009. It is primarily used by Etihad Airways.[7] The new Terminal 3, a AED 1 billion (US$270 million) interim facility, was designed to allow for the airport's passenger growth before the planned opening of the new Midfield Terminal in December 2017 (which was eventually deferred by two years). Used predominantly by Etihad Airways, the terminal boosted the airport's seven million passenger per year capacity to 12 million. It also added 10 new gates, two of which are Airbus A380 compatible.[8]

During the early years of operation, there were no means of getting to the airport from the cities except for private vehicle or taxis. With the creation of Abu Dhabi's bus network in the late 2000s and 2010s, city-to-airport bus services were introduced.[9]

In December 2011, the government of Abu Dhabi signed a letter of intent to build a United States border preclearance facility similar to pre-clearance customs facilities in Canada, Aruba, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Ireland.[10] Etihad operated its first flight to the U.S. from the facility January 25, 2014.[11][12][13] In 2011, the airport was awarded 2nd Best Airport in Middle East of the Airport Service Quality Awards by Airports Council International.[14][15] The airport celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2012.[16]

Rotana Jet was another airline based at the airport; however, it suspended all flights indefinitely in 2017.[17]


Exterior of Terminal 2
Central waiting area inside Terminal 1
Gate area inside Terminal 3
Apron view (featuring an Airbus A320 operated by Kuwait Airways)


Abu Dhabi International Airport consists of three passenger terminals named Terminals 1, 2 and 3:[18]

New Midfield Terminal

After several delays, development work is ongoing on a new passenger terminal, the main building and centerpiece of the new airport, to be between the two runways and known as the Midfield Terminal.[20] The Midfield Terminal will increase the airport's passenger capacity to more than 30 million per year, with options for this to double in capacity to 60 million.[21] An additional facility is under consideration that would take the capacity to 80 million. The new facility will cover a floor area of over 735,000 square meters (7,910,000 sq ft) making it one of the largest airport terminal buildings in the world when it opens. The general exterior of the terminal was designed by international architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates.

The new terminal was due to open on 7 July 2017, then pushed back to early 2019 in time for the 2019 Special Olympics, was then again delayed until the last quarter of 2019 but did not.[22] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the opening date was pushed yet again to sometime in mid-to-late 2021; instead, on 5 July 2021 a major construction contract was cancelled.[23] The contract was with a consortium which comprises United Arab Emirates-based Arabtec, Turkey's TAV Insaat and Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), with Abu Dhabi-headquartered Trojan had been awarded the contract to finish the terminal's construction instead.[24]

In early 2023, it was reported by Momberger Airport Information[25] that the Midfield Terminal would open by the end of 2023, likely on December 2, to coincide with UAE National Day, six years after its originally scheduled opening.[26]

Former city terminal

A check-in facility was operated in downtown Abu Dhabi, for travelers who wanted to check in at the downtown city centre before they travelled to the airport. This facility, known as the City Terminal, resembled an airport terminal building with lounge and transport facilities. After having checked in at the City Terminal, travellers could arrive at the airport just one hour before the departure of their flight. This facility closed in October 2019.[27]

A further check-in facility was operated by Etihad Airways at the Etihad Travel Mall on the outskirts of Dubai near Noor Bank metro station.[28] This has since closed.


Abu Dhabi International Airport has two parallel runways, 13R/31L and 13L/31R. Both are 4,100 m × 60 m (13,450 ft × 200 ft).[29]


The expansion master plan projects include a third 4,100 m (13,500 ft) parallel runway, 2,000 m (6,562 ft) from the existing runways, a new 110 m (360 ft) tower between the two runways with the new Air Traffic Control centre, enhanced cargo and maintenance facilities, and other commercial developments on the land immediately adjacent to and north of the airport. Having a total of 34 square kilometres (13 sq mi) of vast land area, the ambitious project will provide a home base for the UAE's national carrier, Etihad Airways, which will be a major user of new cargo facilities with an ultimate handling capacity of around two million tonnes of freight a year. Close to the new cargo facilities, land has been allocated for commercial activities, business parks, and property developments. Aircraft maintenance facilities will continue to be concentrated on the south side of the existing airport. The plan sets aside land for the growth of other operators such as Royal Jet and Abu Dhabi Aviation. Among other aspects of the project, when completed, are the design of remote aircraft stands complete with airfield ground lighting and hydrant fuel.[citation needed]

US border preclearance

Abu Dhabi International Airport has United States border preclearance facilities since 26 January 2014, the only airport in the Middle East to have such a facility.[30] Passengers on direct flights to the United States are processed for entry before they board their flight so that when they arrive in the U.S. they are treated as domestic arrivals. This facility is similar to those in selected Canadian, Caribbean and Irish airports.

Airlines and destinations


The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights to and from Abu Dhabi:[31]

Aeroflot Moscow–Sheremetyevo (begins 29 October 2023)[32]
Air Arabia Ahmedabad, Alexandria, Amman–Queen Alia,[33] Baghdad,[34] Bahrain, Baku, Beirut,[35] Cairo, Chittagong, Chennai, Dhaka, Erbil (begins 15 September 2023),[34] Faisalabad, Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen, Kathmandu, Kazan, Khartoum, Kochi, Kolkata,[36] Kozhikode, Kuwait City,[35] Moscow–Domodedovo,[37] Multan, Mumbai, Muscat, Salalah, Sohag, Tashkent,[38] Tbilisi, Tehran–Imam Khomeini,[33] Thiruvananthapuram, Yekaterinburg (begins 1 October 2023)[39]
Air France Paris–Charles de Gaulle (begins 29 October 2023)[40]
Air India Mumbai
Air India Express Kannur,[41] Kochi, Kozhikode, Mangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Tiruchirappalli
airblue Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar
Azur Air Seasonal charter: Moscow–Vnukovo
Badr Airlines Khartoum
Belavia Minsk (begins 3 October 2023)[42]
Biman Bangladesh Airlines Chittagong, Dhaka, Sylhet
Cham Wings Airlines Aleppo, Damascus
Egyptair Cairo
Etihad Airways Ahmedabad, Amman–Queen Alia, Amsterdam, Athens, Bahrain, Bangalore, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Barcelona, Beijing–Daxing,[43] Beirut, Brussels, Cairo, Casablanca, Chennai, Chicago–O'Hare, Colombo–Bandaranaike, Copenhagen (begins 1 October 2023),[44] Dammam, Delhi, Dhaka, Doha,[45] Dublin, Düsseldorf (resumes 1 October 2023),[46] Frankfurt, Geneva, Guangzhou,[47] Hyderabad, Islamabad, Istanbul, Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta, Jeddah, Johannesburg–O.R. Tambo,[48] Karachi, Kochi, Kolkata,[49] Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuwait City, Lahore, Lisbon,[50][51] London–Heathrow, Madrid, Mahé, Malé, Manchester, Manila, Melbourne, Milan–Malpensa, Moscow–Sheremetyevo,[52] Mumbai, Munich, Muscat, New York–JFK, Osaka−Kansai (begins 1 October 2023),[53] Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Phuket, Riyadh, Rome–Fiumicino, Saint Petersburg (begins 29 October 2023),[54] Seoul–Incheon, Shanghai–Pudong, Singapore, Sydney, Tel Aviv,[55] Tokyo–Narita, Toronto–Pearson, Vienna,[56] Washington–Dulles, Zürich
Seasonal: Alexandria, Málaga,[57] Mykonos, Zanzibar
Gulf Air Bahrain
Himalaya Airlines Kathmandu
IndiGo Ahmedabad (begins 11 August 2023),[58] Chennai,[59] Delhi, Goa–Mopa (begins 2 September 2023),[60] Hyderabad,[59] Kochi, Kozhikode, Lucknow,[61] Mumbai
Iraqi Airways Baghdad
Kam Air Kabul
Jazeera Airways Kuwait City
Kuwait Airways Kuwait City
Middle East Airlines Beirut
Oman Air Muscat
Pakistan International Airlines Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Sialkot
Pegasus Airlines Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen
Qatar Airways Doha
Royal Jordanian Amman–Queen Alia
SalamAir Muscat,[62] Salalah
Saudia Jeddah, Medina, Riyadh
SriLankan Airlines Colombo–Bandaranaike
SunExpress[63] Antalya (begins 19 September 2023), İzmir (begins 13 September 2023)
Syrian Air Damascus
Turkish Airlines Istanbul
Vistara Mumbai
Wizz Air Alexandria, Almaty, Amman–Queen Alia, Ankara, Antalya,[64] Aqaba, Astana, Athens, Bahrain, Baku, Belgrade, Bishkek,[65] Bucharest–Otopeni, Budapest, Dammam, Erbil (begins 6 October 2023),[66] Giza (begins 1 November 2023), Katowice, Kraków, Krasnodar, Kutaisi, Kuwait City, Larnaca,[65] Malé, Medina, Muscat, Naples, Rome–Fiumicino, Salalah, Samarkand, Sarajevo, Sofia, Sohag,[65] Tashkent, Tel Aviv, Tirana, Vienna, Yerevan
Seasonal: Catania, Cluj-Napoca, Santorini


CMA CGM Air Cargo Paris–Charles de Gaulle[67]
Etihad Cargo[68][69] Amsterdam, Chittagong, Columbus–Rickenbacker, Dammam, Delhi, Dhaka, Frankfurt, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Miami, Mumbai, Shanghai–Pudong


Passenger figures

Graphs are temporarily unavailable due to technical issues.
Annual passenger traffic at AUH airport. See Wikidata query.

Busiest routes

Busiest international routes to and from Abu Dhabi Airport (2021)[70]

Rank Airport Country Total
1 Cairo International Airport Egypt 372,456
2 Islamabad International Airport Pakistan 209,280
3 Delhi International Airport India 197,012
4 Lahore International Airport Pakistan 184,315
5 Dhaka International Airport Bangladesh 182,983

Ground transportation


Abu Dhabi International Airport is connected to the Emirate and its surroundings, including Dubai and Al Ain, by a highway network.[71] Route E20 directly passes the airport. Car rental, taxis and dedicated chauffeur services are available.[71]

Public transport

The Department of Transport provides five bus routes from the airport throughout Abu Dhabi which run 24 hours a day, including lines A1 and A2 which leads to the city center.[71] Etihad Airways additionally provides a coach service from Abu Dhabi International Airport to Al Ain and Downtown Dubai.[72] The airport's new midfield terminal will be connected to the Abu Dhabi Metro, but no construction has commenced for the metro, light rail or BRT.

Accidents and incidents

See also


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