The emirate’s first airport, Al Bateen Airport, was located in Abu Dhabi City and opened in 1968 with just a single airstrip. In 1982, Abu Dhabi International Airport moved to its present site and underwent a series of expansions and renovations from the mid-1990s to 2009 with the addition of extra terminals, facilities and a second runway to cater for increasing passenger numbers. Abu Dhabi International Airport now occupies an area of 60 square kilometres and operates three terminals, including the most recent, Terminal 3, which opened in 2009. The brand-new Midfield Terminal Complex, which is set to handle 30 million passengers a year, is slated for completion in July 2017.
Abu Dhabi Airport Quick Facts
Distance from CBD: 38 kilometres
Number of airlines: 41 airlines operate from Abu Dhabi Airport
Number of destinations served: 94 cities in 56 countries
Number of terminals: Three
Number of runways: Two
There are a few different options to check-in for departing flights from Abu Dhabi Airport, including self-service kiosks, remote check-in and full-service counters at the airport. The airport check-in areas are located at the arrivals level of each terminal, which is also the ground floor of Terminals 1, 2, and 3.
For self-service check-in, there are standalone check-in kiosks at Terminals 1 and 3. After checking in at the kiosk for your flight, you need to go to the Bag Drop counter to drop off your baggage. Guests at Park Rotana Abu Dhabi and Crowne Plaza in Abu Dhabi Yas Island can also use the onsite self-service check-in within the lobby of these hotels before dropping off your luggage at the airport.
Abu Dhabi International also has two other remote check-in options, allowing you to check your bags in up to 24 hours before you arrive at the airport and to secure your preferred seat. The City Terminal Check-In is located within the Abu Dhabi CBD and allows guests travelling with select airlines to check in themselves and their luggage. The other remote option is the Abu Dhabi International Airport Expo Check-In, which is situated within the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre (ADNEC). This check-in kiosk is open from 09:00 to 20:00 seven days a week.
It is recommended that passengers arrive at the airport check-in at least four hours before your flight if you are flying with Etihad and three hours for all other international flights. Check-in closes one hour before departure. Ensure you have your plane tickets, a valid passport, visas and baggage (if not using remote check-in) ready for your arrival at Abu Dhabi Airport.
If you need to store your luggage at the airport for a few days, or do not want to carry your baggage around the airport with you, Abu Dhabi Airport offers baggage storage and delivery services at the Airport Service Centre in Terminal 1, which is charged by the bag. Baggage wrapping is also available. Any unclaimed or lost property can be retrieved from Baggage Services, which is open 24 hours a day and located in the Arrivals Halls.
Currency exchange services to convert your money into UAE Dirhams are available before and after passport control at all three terminals from 16 currency providers, as well as select local banks, and in more than 20 locations throughout the airport.
Internet Access/ Wi-Fi
Abu Dhabi International offers free unlimited Wi-Fi connection throughout the airport as well as 50 internet kiosks with complimentary access that are located within the Departures areas of all three terminals. USB port and sockets can also be found within the internet kiosks to charge your portable electronic devices. Most airport lounges will also provide free Wi-Fi services as part of the complimentary services.
If you are travelling through Abu Dhabi Airport on business, there are a few services available to ensure you make your meeting or flight on time and stay connected on the go. Before passport control, you can use the fax and photocopying services within the Airport Services Centre in Terminal 1, which also offers safety deposit boxes and left luggage services. After you clear passport control, you can connect to the internet and Wi-Fi and use the office facilities at one of seven airport lounges available in each of the three terminals for a fee, including the Etihad Arrivals Lounge in the Arrivals Hall. Valet parking is also available from the Arrivals areas outside Terminals 1 and 3, and those travelling for work can also receive free flight updates via text message. If you are a frequent visitor to Abu Dhabi, you can also take advantage of the Infinite Annual Membership on offer, which entitles business travellers to personalised and efficient service at Abu Dhabi Airport.
Travelling with little ones? Entertainment options are limited for kids at Abu Dhabi Airport. Terminal 1 has a children’s play area located after passport control on the second floor where kids under six can burn some energy before boarding the flight. Select lounges also have children’s areas. If you have a smartphone, tablet or laptop, you can also take advantage of the free unlimited Wi-Fi throughout the airport, or entertain older kids at the complimentary internet kiosks in the Departures areas of each terminal. You will also find plenty of family-friendly options in the food courts. Babies are catered for with complimentary strollers available at all three terminals as well as baby-changing facilities near all restrooms. For any last-minute necessities such as nappies, formula and wipes, Terminals 1 and 3 have 24-hour pharmacies on hand.
For the smoothest possible passage, Abu Dhabi Airport provides VIP services where a Special Services team will arrange all the necessary airport procedures for you from airline check-in to immigration requirements and customs while you relax with complimentary Wi-Fi, canapés and refreshments in the Al Dar lounge in Terminal 1. The luxurious Al Dar Lounge is equipped for business travellers as well as families with four private lounges available.
The Golden Class ‘Meet & Assist’ Service offers a dedicated Golden Class Services representative who will meet you outside Departures, Arrivals or in transit; fast-track your check-in, immigration and customs procedures; and offer a porter service for your luggage or assist with baggage collection as well as an escort to the departure gate or arrivals area.
If you need to freshen up while in transit, there are free public showers near departure gates 32 and 37 in Terminal 3 – you’ll just need to supply your own toiletries and towel. Paying guests can also use the shower facilities and amenities, including towels and bathroom products, within the Al Reem Lounge and Al Dhabi Lounge, both in Terminal 1.
Abu Dhabi International has seven lounges, including three Etihad Airways lounges, spread across all terminals of the airport. No matter whether you are flying in economy for first class, you will find a wide range of amenities and facilities to relax while in transit or awaiting your flight.
Al Reem Lounge
Open to all passengers with an international boarding pass, regardless of what airline you are flying with, Al Reem Lounge is located in Terminal 1. The facilities include light meals, shower and bathroom amenities, free Wi-Fi, flatscreen TVs and a selection of magazines and newspapers. The lounge is open 24 hours a day.
Al Dhabi Lounge
The award-winning Al Dhabi Lounge is also situated within Terminal 1 and offers a variety of onsite facilities and amenities. Any travellers flying First Class or Business Class with airlines other than Etihad are eligible for complimentary access to Al Dhabi Lounge, as well as paying guests (children aged two to 11 years receive a discounted entry fee). Visitors to this 24-hour lounge will be treated to a hot buffet, beverages, light meals, free Wi-Fi, office facilities, entertainment options and showers.
Al Ghazal Lounge
Located within Terminal 2, passengers flying First or Business Class with any airline other than Etihad will be invited to enjoy the hospitality of Al Ghazal Lounge upon check-in. Walk-in guests can also access the lounge for a fee, and there is a discount for children aged two to 11 years. Onsite facilities include flatscreen TVs, magazines, newspapers, complimentary Wi-Fi, internet stations, snacks and a selection of hot and cold meals and beverages from the buffet, all available 24 hours a day.
Al Dar Lounge
Strictly for paying guests utilising the airport’s VIP services, the luxury Al Dar Lounge in Terminal 1 offer a variety of high-end amenities and facilities in sumptuous surrounds, including four separate private lounges complete with plasma TVs and Wi-Fi. Some of the complimentary provisions available in Al Dar Lounge include canapés, snacks and non-alcoholic hot and cold beverages.
As a hub for the national carrier, Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi Airport has three airline lounges onsite: two for Diamond First Class passengers and one for Pearl Business Class travellers. There is also the Etihad Arrivals Lounge within the Arrivals Hall. Passengers flying with other airlines can enjoy the hospitality provided in the airport lounges.
Etihad Diamond First Class Lounge
Catering for the airlines First Class clientele on an invitation-only basis, Etihad has two Diamond First Class Lounges; one within Terminal 1 and the other situated in Terminal 3. Both lounges offer a la carte dining in the world-class restaurant, a Champagne bar, beds and showers, a children’s entertainment area, complimentary Wi-Fi and business facilities available 24 hours. Guests can also enjoy a pressing and shoe shining service. The lounge in Terminal 3 also contains a Cigar Lounge.
Etihad Pearl Business Class Lounge
Open to Etihad Pearl Business Class customers, who will receive an invitation at check-in, this luxury lounge is located in Terminal 3. Refresh yourself with a shower while your clothes are ironed and shoes are shined, relax with a magazine or newspaper, and take advantage of the free broadband and business facilities. Children are also taken care of with their own dedicated area that provides books, toys, TV and nannies to look over them.
If you are flying to Abu Dhabi with airlines such as Garuda Indonesia, KLM, Lufthansa, Air India, Qatar Airways and Gulf Air, you will most likely be touching down at Terminal 1. Situated between Terminals 3 and 2 and closest to Terminal 3, Terminal 1 has its own dedicated carpark. Each terminal is a 20-minute journey from each other on foot, or you can opt to transfer between terminals on the inter-terminal shuttle, which operates every 15 to 20 minutes. Terminal 1 is serviced by air-conditioned public buses and the E20 highway.
Low-cost; charters; select international airlines, such as Turkmenistan Airlines and PIA; and private airlines primarily use Terminal 2 for flights to Abu Dhabi Airport. Terminal 2 is also a hub for Rotana Jet, the domestic airline of the UAE. Terminal 2 is located next to the Long Term parking lot and another larger Short Stay carpark and separated from Terminal 1 by the Abu Dhabi Airports Company Building. Terminal 2 is around two kilometres in distance from Terminal 1 and can be reached by public bus and the E20 highway.
Terminal 3 is primarily for the exclusive use of the arrivals and departures of Etihad Airways flights. Abu Dhabi Airport is the hub for Etihad Airways, which is the national flag carrier of the emirate. Virgin Australia and Air Berlin also use Terminal 3 for their flights. Terminal 3 is accessible from the E20 highway and by public buses.
In a country where most citizens travel by car, there are limited public transport services available to travel between the airport and the Abu Dhabi city centre. To get and from Abu Dhabi International, options include public buses, metered taxis, luxury transfers and hire cars.
The Fastest: Airport taxis
Metered luxury taxis are the quickest way to get from the airport to the Abu Dhabi city centre, taking around 30 to 35 minutes for the journey. Taxi services are available 24 hours a day for door-to-door transportation. From Terminal 1 and 3, the signposted pick-up area can be found outside the Arrivals Hall for the fleet of six-seater Mercedes Vito vehicles. Terminal 2 has metered and air-conditioned Toyota Camry taxis on standby outside the Arrivals area.
The Cheapest: A1 Bus
The most economical way to travel from Abu Dhabi Airport to the city centre is via the green-and-white A1 public buses. The air-conditioned vehicles depart from all three terminals and stop at all bus stops to the Abu Dhabi city centre for a 45-minute journey, terminating on Al Nasr Street. Public buses run every 40 minutes, 24 hours a day.
Limousines, Coaches and Car Hire
For passengers travelling in Diamond First Class or Pearl Business Class with Etihad Airways, the airline offers a chauffeured limousine service from Abu Dhabi International Airport for a door-to-door luxury transfer to your accommodation and the city centre. Limousines need to be reserved at least 24 hours before your journey via your travel consultant or through Etihad.
Etihad also offers complimentary transfers to their Coral Economy passengers on luxury Mercedes-Benz coaches for the one-hour trip between the airport and Dubai city centre and Al-Ain. If you wish to do the driving yourself, car rental offices are located in Skypark Plaza, across from Terminal 3, and companies include Budget, Hertz, Europcar and Thrifty.
Short Stay Parking
Abu Dhabi Airport offers both Short Term and Mid Term parking within its Terminal 1, 2 and 3 carparks, which are accessible via a short walk along air-conditioned walkways from the closest terminal. The multi-storey covered carpark located between Terminal 1 and 3 also has temperature-controlled bays. Short Term parking rates start at a half-hourly rate with an additional fee for every hour up to a daily maximum of 24 hours and then a three-day rate.
Mid Term parking is also available at Abu Dhabi International from four days up to seven days with a daily parking fee. Extra days are also available for an incremental daily rate.
Long Stay Parking
If you are leaving your vehicle at the airport while you travel, Abu Dhabi Airport has one Long Term parking lot, which is located at the Terminal 2 carpark. Long stay parking is also available within Garden parking. Long Term parking attracts a daily fee for a maximum of 60 days. Longer terms are also available by prior arrangement with the Help Desk at Terminal 1. To travel to Terminal 1 and 3 from Long Stay parking, take the complimentary shuttle for the five-minute ride.
Abu Dhabi Airport offers valet parking services to save you time. There is no need to book this service; if you wish to use valet parking, drive your car outside the Departures area of Terminals 1 and 3, which are adjacent to each other. The valet parking fee is based on an hourly rate.
The three terminals at Abu Dhabi International Airport are located next to each other, making it easy to transfer between terminals. To travel between terminals for international flight connections, it is a 20-minute walk, or you can travel between Terminal 2 and Terminal 1 via the complimentary inter-terminal shuttle bus, which runs every 15 to 20 minutes from Entrance 5 at Terminal 1 to the Departures area of Terminal 2 – a two-kilometre distance.
As a major hub for Etihad and travel to the Middle East, Abu Dhabi is serviced by a wide range of airlines. The following airlines reach Abu Dhabi Airport. Don't see the airline you are looking for? Talk to a consultant to book your Abu Dhabi flights with your preferred airline.
The following airlines reach Abu Dhabi. Don't see the airline you are looking for? Talk to a consultant to book your Abu Dhabi flights with your preferred airline.
If you are stopping off at Abu Dhabi International before the next segment of your flight, in town for business or want to rest after your late night arrival, there are a couple of onsite options where you can lay your head. The Airport Hotel in Terminal 1 has been designed with the transit passenger in mind with standard rooms, bathrooms and TVs so you can recharge and feel refreshed for your onward journey without having to travel out of the airport.
Located just outside of the terminal area, Premier Inn Abu Dhabi International Hotel can be accessed via the Skypark building to Terminals 1 and 3, a short walk away, or you can take the free shuttle bus between the Arrival and Departure terminals and the hotel. Premier Inn Abu Dhabi International Hotel is also just 15 minutes’ drive from the Abu Dhabi city centre. Other luxury and well-known hotel options close to the airport can be found on Yas Island and include offerings from Crowne Plaza and Radisson. To book your Abu Dhabi International Airport accommodation, search below or see more accommodation options.