Spectacular Designs: The Midfield Terminal Project
Abu Dhabi International Airport is expected to handle 20 million passengers over the next few years. The Midfield Terminal Complex (MTC) will help accommodate the passengers.
The MTC building will be the largest, and most architecturally striking, structure in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It is being constructed as part of Plan Abu Dhabi 2030: an Emirate-wide scheme to ensure the growth of Abu Dhabi as a business and tourism centre. Sure enough, visitors will want to examine the beauty of the stunning new build.
According to Airport Technology “the [MTC] building is located between the airport’s two runways, which is why it has been named midfield terminal. “The location is entirely strategic, giving passengers a quick, comfortable approach to the terminal.
The project will cost an estimated Dh10.8bn ($2.94bn) and it is scheduled for completion in 2019.
There are many interesting details in the MTC project. The construction of the MTC terminal itself is considered to be a major step in the Abu Dhabi International Airport development project.
Since the project’s inception in 2006, a new 4,100m-long and 60m-wide runway has been constructed to handle Code F A-380 aircraft.
Terminal 3, which has a floor area of 70,000m² (753,474ft²) and includes 33 check-in counters, was opened in 2008. It is currently serving flights for Etihad Airways.
In 2011, the airport gained a 110m-high air traffic control complex. This remains the biggest air traffic control system in the region. It comprises of state control systems and sizeable on-site training facilities.
Now, the project is entirely focused on the new terminal. As well as minimising passenger walking distance, the new terminal will maximise aircraft parking spaces. After a broad analysis of needs, the design team realised that an X-shaped architectural plan would connect the terminal to the airport most effectively. The design includes 39 gates with a possible expansion up to 49. It also has scope for options for other space expansions, technological modifications and internal reconfigurations.
Large column-free zones have been included in the terminal plan and build, with hopes of making a soaring roof that is supported by steel arches instead. The steel arches will be few and far between, to optimise the capacity of the internal space. Furthermore, a large hall will lead passengers to the centre of the building, which contains a hotel, lounges, cultural outlets, stores and a large garden that resembles a public park.
The configuration of the terminal optimises the amount of available natural light. Despite this, a wavy roof curves downward at the end to provide shade and protect the terminal against the heat produced by sunrays.
Guided by environmental objectives, the terminal limits the use of potable water by incorporating dry climate landscaping. The building itself uses low energy lighting and is supplemented by the daylight passing through the transparent walls.
According to the Acting Chief Programme Officer, Sulaiman Al Siksek, “the overall design of the structure with the beautiful curves resembles the general characteristics of the land, and the desert sand dunes.”
“To enhance the overall theme and give a sense of place, each pier is pointing in the direction of its theme, whether that be sea, oasis, city or desert.
“Each will have its own colours and design to help travelers navigate around the airport.”
MTC’s facilities will be as impressive as its design, denoted by the 18,000m² (193,750ft²) of space entirely dedicated to duty-free retail stores, including high-end commercial offerings, internationally-renowned luxury goods and some amazing designer outlets.
International restaurants and cafes will be located in approximately 10,000m² (107,639ft²) of area. In addition, an area of 27,500m² (296,007ft²) will be used as an airline hospitality lounge.
An 8,400m² (90,416ft²) indoor park will exhibit beautiful Mediterranean plants. It also aims to express the characteristics of the Middle East, with desert landscapes at its far corners.
An area of 800,000m² (8.6 million ft²) will be dedicated for the cargo building, which will have a capacity to park 16 to 20 aircraft. The piers of the MTC building will be able to accommodate 65 large aircraft, such as the Airbus A-380.
The 165 conventional check-in counters installed in the building can handle 8,500 passengers per hour. Additionally, 48 self-service kiosks are installed in the terminal. The new building will feature around 136 screening lanes for passengers and 25 screening lanes for staff.
In addition, a fascinating museum is being built. It will exhibit heritage and culture, which will show visitors some aspects of the Emirate’s history.
Such an ambitious project required a secure source of funding. A loan of Dh4 billion (US$1.08bn) was granted from a consortium of banks ,including: Al Hilal Bank, Mashreq Bank, Union National Bank, First Gulf Bank and Arab Bank.
In total, the building is expected to require 69,000t of steel, around 680,000m³ (22 million ft³) of concrete, 500,000m² (5.38 million ft²) of steel and glass cladding, 135,000t of rebar, 360,000m² (3.8 million ft²) of suspended ceilings, and 325,000m² (3.5 million ft²) of natural stone flooring.
The on-site preparation works, such as piling and laying foundations of the midfield terminal complex, were completed in 2010-11. The main construction work on the project began in 2012.
Now, the terminal is being fitted with state-of-the-art baggage handling system. Once completed, this will have the capacity to handle over 19,000 bags per hour. It has ten reclaim carousels and 22km of conveyors.
Having previously faced some difficulties with timing and completion, the project is now on track. Acting Chief Executive Officer Al Khoori acknowledged the challenges of building the mega terminal. He said:
“Everybody knows the challenges that we are facing, [from] the size of the terminal, [and] the complicity of the systems,” he said.
“This is where we as a project team … had to sit down with all consultants, the contractor, and all the subcontractors to keep the momentum going. Yes, we had challenges, but we were able to resolve these challenges that had some impacts on [our original] schedule”
“[We are now] moving forward to the building completion”.
Parsons is acting as the programme manager for the expansion. AECOM Technology in association with Hill was awarded an $85m contract for providing construction management and supervision services.
A $2.9bn contract was awarded to the joint venture of TAV, CCC and Arabtec for the construction of the Midfield Terminal Complex.
Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates designed the MTC building, while Engineering Consultants Group was also involved in the project.
As part of the last phase ahead of the terminal’s delivery, Abu Dhabi Airports has begun working with partners including Etihad, the General Authority for the Security of Ports, Borders and Free Zones, Airport Police, Customs, and the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). The co-operation and management between all contracted parties will set the airport in good stead for 2019. The terminal is now 86 per cent complete.