Abu Dhabi Airport gets ready for retail as Midfield Terminal nears completion

Work will begin in a few months on retail units at the Duty Free area of Abu Dhabi Airport’s new Dh19 billion Midfield Terminal.

Seventy-three per cent of the terminal is now complete, Abu Dhabi Airports also said on Tuesday.

The baggage handling system is near completion and is expected to be finished by the end of this year. Similarly, work on the airside of the airport is more than 70 per cent complete. The terminal’s car park is also 70 per cent finished.

The new terminal is slated to be opened next year and will support Abu Dhabi’s economy – providing a direct lift to the aviation and transport sectors, while also boosting tourism and retail.

The Midfield Terminal, along with the current airport infrastructure, will serve the rising number of passengers flying through Abu Dhabi, a figure expected to surpass 45 million in the next decade. Last year, 23.3 million passengers passed through the emirate, and this year more than 25 million are expected.

“The new airport in Abu Dhabi, if well managed as the airport in Dubai, will support economic activity in Abu Dhabi, as the improvement in infrastructure and the services provided stimulate tourism and investment,” said Garbis Iradian, the chief economist for the Middle East and North Africa at the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

The Midfield Terminal will be the largest architectural structure in the capital, according to Abu Dhabi Airports. At its widest, its roof span is 319 metres. Its 18 arches, the largest of which is 180 metres wide and 5 metres high. Situated between the two runways at Abu Dhabi International Airport, the new terminal will allow a short journey from runway to parking stand, according to the airport.

“Midfield Terminal Building will have commercial space, there will be retailers, food and beverage outlets, which will make passengers stay and spend time in the emirate,” said Alp Eke, senior economist at National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

Meanwhile, UAE airports in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah will introduce departure taxes effective from June 30 to help fund future projects.

Airlines in Abu Dhabi will be responsible for the collection of a Dh35 fee and the revenue will be transferred to Abu Dhabi Airports Company. Analysts welcomed the imposition of the new fee, saying that raising non-oil government revenue is needed amid prolonged low oil prices.

“In the absence of non-oil revenue measures it will be difficult for Abu Dhabi government to fund projects,” said Mr Iradian.

“Also the fiscal consolidation efforts should rely on a combination of raising non-oil revenues and reducing non-priority or inefficient public spending.”


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Shereen El Gazzar

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