Abu Dhabi terminals to be ready in record time

Two airport terminals, one contractor... and just four months to finish

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By  Sean Cronin Published  April 30, 2005

Al Jaber Grinaker has scooped the AED150 million contract to construct two new terminal buildings at Abu Dhabi Airport in the record time of just four months. Contractors heard about the project at the beginning of April, and the contract was awarded within a matter of days. Now Al Jaber Grinaker will have to work around the clock in order to meet the near impossible deadline of August 2005. Abu Dhabi already has plans to build a new multi-billion dollar airport after 2008, but the massive growth of national carrier Etihad has forced the operator to build two new temporary structures to cope with passenger growth in the intervening period. It is the latest twist in the story of the project which last year saw South African contractor Murray & Roberts being awarded the package to build the new airport. But the success of Etihad forced the original airport design to be scrapped in favour of a larger redesigned facility, better able to cope with much higher volumes of traffic. Etihad is set to take delivery of five new long-haul Boeing 777 planes later on this year, and it plans to increase its fleet to 50 aircraft within the next five years to keep pace with rising passenger traffic heading for the UAE. The carrier already flies to London’s Gatwick andHeathrow airports, as well as to Munich and Geneva. And it plans to introduce more routes to Toronto, Brussels, Johannesburg and Frankfurt in 2005. Neither the UAE or South African firms which comprise the Al Jaber Grinaker company have attempted to build a project of this scale within such a tight timetable before. A critical part of the work will be the installation of high tech baggage handling systems, which are being manufactured in Europe, North America and Asia. The new Terminal Two building will handle both arrivals and departures and will be connected to the Terminal One building with a quick service transport for transfers and transit. The existing Terminal One building, which is essentially a concrete shell structure, will be refitted and modified for the new airport. Nine new aircraft stands are also being constructed away from the terminal buildings. When both structures are complete, the airport will be able to handle 8 million passengers annually. The client for the project is SCADIA, while Parsons is project managing the work alongside GHD. DG Jones is the quantity surveyor.

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