Abu Dhabi International Airport

An ultramodern terminal complex in the making
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Midfield Terminal Complex Development

The construction of the Midfield Terminal Complex (MTC) and overall expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport are vital to enable the diversification of the Emirate’s economy by fostering growth in other industries through increased connectivity.


Within the next few years, 20 million people are expected to use Abu Dhabi International Airport as their origin, destination or transit point for international and domestic journeys.

Abu Dhabi Airports Company is tasked with ensuring that the airport is able to provide world-class services that meet this demand over the coming years. This is part of the Government’s Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, an Emirate-wide strategy to cater for Abu Dhabi’s business and tourism growth.

The centrepiece of ADAC’s multibillion-dollar investment programme is the Midfield Terminal Complex (MTC), which will provide a full terminal building, passenger and cargo facilities, and duty-free shops and restaurants for a total capacity of 27-40 million people a year.


The MTC will be located between the airport’s two runways, which also gives the terminal its name. This location allows for the quickest possible journey from runway to stand, resulting in a smoother experience for the Terminal’s passengers.

Terminal buildings

The MTC’s terminal building will be the largest in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and one of the region’s most architecturally impressive structures. It will be between 630,000 and 702,369sqm in size, and visible from more than 1.5km away. The central space of the terminal building could hold three full-sized football pitches and features a ceiling 52m tall at its highest point.

The complex will include 20,000-25,000sqm of retail and F&B outlets. These are set around an 8,400sqm indoor park, another first for the region, which will host Mediterranean plants and features at its centre, and desert landscapes at its edge.

Associated support buildings take up an additional 800,000sqm, and will include access to 16-20 aircraft parking stands dedicated to cargo.


Developing the MTC is an international multicultural team, which includes experts that have played critical roles in some of the most important airport developments of recent years, such as Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

Sustainable designs requirements have played an important part in making the MTC an environmentally friendly building, taking into account the Urban Planning Council’s Estidama approach towards sustainable design. The Terminal is designed to minimise its impact on the environment, making use of design elements such as high performance and angled glass facades to avoid heat from entering the building, making air conditioning more efficient while providing day lighting for interior spaces. Solid cladding has also been integrated in the design, further reducing the impact of the sun.

Environmental design initiatives that are being pursued also include water conservation using waste water for irrigation of outdoor plants. The MTC team is working closely with Masdar, whose zero-carbon city is being developed adjacent to the airport. Such collaboration ensures that ideas and techniques are shared across these two developments in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) and the joint venture (JV) of TAV, CCC, and Arabtec have signed an AED 10.8 billion contract in June 2012 for the construction of the Midfield Terminal Building (MTB) at Abu Dhabi International Airport, with opening planned in 2017. Construction of the 700,000m2 terminal building, one of the world-class infrastructure projects being undertaken in the capital, will commence in the third quarter of this year.

The project will include two key phases: the 4 year construction phase, followed by the Operational Readiness Assessment phase (ORAT), where during a 9 month period thorough tests of all aspects of the terminal will take place to ensure operational and efficiency readiness from the first day of operation.

The MTB is designed to achieve a minimum Two Pearl Rating, following the Urban Planning Council’s Estidama approach towards sustainable design. The project will minimize its impact on the environment, making use of innovative and cutting edge design elements, such as high performance angled glass to reduce heat and increase air-conditioning efficiencies.

Passenger facilities and duty-free retail will include high-end commercial offerings across more than 18,000 square meters, including internationally renowned luxury goods and designer outlets, and almost 10,000 square meters of international restaurants and cafes, offering a wide range of styles and cuisines. Passenger facilities will also include over 27,500 square meters of airline hospitality lounges, a transit hotel and a heritage and culture museum.
Operational highlights include:

  • Piers will accommodate up to 65 aircraft, including the Airbus A-380
  • Check-in is capable of handling around 8,500 passengers per hour
  • Check-in will provide 165 conventional counters and 48 self-service kiosks
  • Baggage system is designed to process over 19,000 bags per hour with over 22 kilometers of conveying lines and 10 reclaim carousels
  • 136 security screening lanes for passengers, with a further 25 for staff
  • The building will be constructed using approximately 69,000 tons of steel, more than 680,000 cubic meters of concrete, and nearly 500,000 square meters of steel and glass cladding, 135,000 tons of rebar, 360,000 square meters of suspended ceilings and 325,000 square meters of natural stone flooring