UAE’s $5 Billion ‘Mission Impossible’ Airport Set To Open In November

Ready for takeoff.

UAE’s $5 Billion ‘Mission Impossible’ Airport Set To Open In November

Terminal A at Abu Dhabi International Airport is set to commence operations. With an investment of US$3 billion (A$4.7 billion) behind it, it could mark a new era in air travel.

From perfumes to hotels to license plates, the UAE has long been home to the most expensive and exclusive things on earth. Now, with the long-overdue opening of its new airport terminal set to launch next month, the venue that played host to stars of the recent Mission Impossible movie could set a new benchmark in the industry.

Originally scheduled to open its doors in 2017, Terminal A encountered a series of delays exacerbated by the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, as reported by Stuff. However, the wait is finally over as Elena Sorlini — managing director and interim CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports — announced that the terminal is officially ready for takeoff.

WATCH: Take a longer view of the UAE’s 4-year glow-up.

Expressing her excitement, Sorlini had this to say:

“Terminal A will drive the growth of the aviation sector in Abu Dhabi and play an instrumental role in welcoming more businesses and tourists to the emirate for decades to come.”

Elena Sorlini

To mark this momentous occasion, Etihad Airways is planning a ceremonial flight to Terminal A on October 31, followed by other airlines making the move in the subsequent days and weeks.

Let’s delve into some of the remarkable stats that the terminal can boast:

  • Size: The terminal boasts a colossal 742,000 square meters of space, setting the stage for a spacious and efficient travel experience.
  • Capacity: With the capacity to process 45 million passengers annually, it can handle a staggering 11,000 travellers per hour. This is a twofold increase in the airport’s previous capacity and a threefold expansion of the former terminal.
  • Aircraft: Terminal A can simultaneously accommodate 79 aircraft
  • Efficiency: The terminal incorporates 9 biometric airport touchpoints to streamline the passenger journey. These include self-service bag drops, immigration eGates, and boarding gates.
A front elevation of the new terminal. Image: Terminal A.
  • Airlines and Destinations: A total of 28 airlines will operate from Terminal A, connecting to 117 destinations around the world.
  • Shopping Extravaganza: The terminal features a sprawling shopping area covering 35,000 square meters. Travellers can indulge in limitless retail therapy with 163 concessionaires alongside countless food and beverage outlets.
  • Volunteer Stress Tests: Over 11,000 volunteers have rigorously tested the airport’s operations in the lead-up to the grand opening, ensuring a smooth start… hopefully.
  • Sustainability: Terminal A embraces sustainability with 7,500 solar panels powering a 3MW plant. This initiative is set to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by a remarkable 5,300 tonnes every single year.
  • Art and Film: Adding a cultural touch, the terminal features Sana Al Nour, one of the largest indoor public art installations in the Middle East. Moreover, Terminal A has already been the backdrop for Hollywood investment, with scenes from the most recent Mission Impossible movie being shot there last year.

As the industry watches in anticipation, Terminal A could be about to raise the bar on modern air travel. The journey begins on November 1, and we’re convinced it won’t be long until Tom Cruise himself returns…