Abu Dhabi cancels contract on gigantic billion-dollar new airport

By TIN Media | Middle East Published 2 years ago on 17 July 2021
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Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich Gulf emirate, is said to have canceled a nearly $3 billion contract for a long-delayed new airport terminal that was to be dominated by Etihad Airways.

According to sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the contract was canceled due to significant cost overruns at the government-owned airport operator.

The massive 742,000 square meter Midfield Terminal was supposed to open in 2017, but it has been plagued by delays, and there is no word on when the airport will finally open.

The building's construction was claimed to be 97.6 percent complete in late 2019, but officials pushed back the opening date to a mid-2020 date that has yet to be determined. 

Since then, the pandemic has slowed the project even more, and the Abu Dhabi airport company has not provided an update in over a year.

With a capacity of up to 84 million passengers per year, the structure was designed to support Etihad Airways' growth. 

Etihad Airways is rapidly contracting to become a boutique carrier, and the Midfield Terminal is unlikely to ever handle nearly as many passengers as it was designed for.

In mid-2019, the airport terminal underwent its first ground handling exercise, which involved 800 volunteers simulating passengers arriving and departing from the airport. It's unclear if the airport has conducted any additional tests since then.

The construction consortium has declined to comment on the speculations, and it is unclear when, if ever, the terminal will open.


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