Abu Dhabi International Airport has been renamed to Zayed International Airport

The change was made to honour one of UAE’s founding fathers, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. 

Abu Dhabi International Airport has been renamed to Zayed International Airport, as of February 09 2024. The change was announced by President Sheikh Mohamed last year and was made to honour one of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) founding fathers, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. 

The naming ceremony

Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Advisor for Special Affairs at the Presidential Court, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Abu Dhabi Airports, attended a ceremony on 09 February 2024 to rename Abu Dhabi International Airport as Zayed International Airport.

CREDIT: @ad_airports

The naming ceremony was accompanied by video highlights of 1,750 drones coming together to form Zayed International Airport’s new logo. The logo features the Qasr Al Hosn Fort and Terminal A, a traditional dhow boat, a date palm tree and the desert sun.

With live concerts, digital events and giveaways spanning over the weekend of 10 – 11 February, promotional activities marked the importance of change. Airlines took part too, with Etihad Airways and Wizz Air launching special offers and sales for guests. 

Arik De, Chief Revenue and Commercial Officer, Etihad Airways, said: “We take immense pride in our home, Abu Dhabi, which is the perfect hub from which to explore the world. We’re forever grateful to the vision of the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and proudly join in these celebrations as our home airport is renamed in his honour.”

Speaking at the ceremony, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoon stated: 

“We are immensely proud to rename Abu Dhabi’s largest airport in honour of the Founding Father of the UAE. The unsurpassed achievements of the late Sheikh Zayed in connecting our country to nations around the world have inspired our commitment to ensuring that Abu Dhabi further strengthens its position as a world-leading hub for travel, trade, and commerce.

“Opening its gates to the world, Zayed International Airport ushers in a new era for Abu Dhabi’s aviation sector.

“The airport’s state-of-the-art infrastructure delivers exceptional connectivity, innovation and sustainability for an elevated guest experience while propelling regional tourism, trade, and commerce to new heights.”

CREDIT: Etihad Airways 

Elena Sorlini, Managing Director, and Chief Executive Officer at Abu Dhabi Airports, who was also at the event said:

“Zayed International Airport is a gateway through which we share Abu Dhabi and its heritage with the world, welcoming travellers by articulating the values of connectivity, innovation and sustainability.

“Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our employees, partners and everyone else involved, 2023 has been an overwhelmingly positive year for Abu Dhabi Airports. I am particularly proud that since its opening, Terminal A‘s operations have been very successful.

“Passengers are given an authentic, inclusive, and seamless traveller experience rooted in the Emirati heritage of hospitality and powered by state-of-the-art technology. We are excited for what lies ahead for Zayed International Airport as it embarks on the next chapter of its journey under the cherished name of the Founding Father of the nation.”

Terminal A

Zayed International Airport’s terminal, Terminal A, has achieved many milestones since its opening in November 2023. During the first 60 days of Terminal A’s launch, Zayed International Airport welcomed 4.48 million passengers, with 1.21 million arrivals, 1.22 million departures, two million transfers and more than 24,000 flights. It is expected to handle roughly 45 million passengers annually.

CREDIT: Sam Chui

The $3 billion terminal, spanning an impressive 742,000sq.m can also hold up to 79 aircraft, and the airport served 117 destinations in December 2023, an increase of 20 percent from 100 cities in 2020. The rise is attributed to the airport’s rapidly growing airline network of 28 international carriers.

When fully operational, Terminal A will be a prime example of a passenger experience-focused terminal. The terminal will cover 35,000sq.m of of retail and F&B space, and 163 outlets for passengers to shop, dine and enjoy. It will include nine biometric airport touchpoints, at places like self-service bag drops, immigration eGates and boarding gates, and will use facial recognition to screen passengers and minimise wait times. 

Passenger traffic 

Abu Dhabi Airport’s passenger traffic for the third quarter of 2023 is already showing signs that Terminal A is positively impacting the growth of the airport. 5,951,025 passengers travelled through the airport between 01 July and 30 September, an increase of 29.3%, compared to the same period last year. Abu Dhabi International Airport further recorded 37,903 movements in Q3 2023, an increase of 21.8% compared to Q3 2022.

In 2024, Zayed International Airport can expect to maintain and even amplify this momentum, by providing passengers an enjoyable, stress-free experience and airlines with the space and capacity to triumphantly succeed. 

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