By Andy Sambidge
The terminal, which will be operational in July 2017, aims to double passenger capacity
Construction of a new AED10.8bn ($2.9 billion) terminal at Abu Dhabi's international airport has reached a major milestone, officials have announced.
Senior executives from construction partners working on the project said the first steel arch of the Midfield Terminal Building had been completed, marking the launch of the roof structure phase.
"This milestone marks the launch of the roof structure sequence for the mega project and forever changes the skyline of Abu Dhabi as the future gateway continues to rise above the ground," a statement from Abu Dhabi Airports read.
Ali Majed Al Mansoori, chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports, said: "The Midfield Terminal Building is now rising into the sky, which is a clear testament that it will be the gateway to the capital city by 2017."
The terminal, which will be operational in July 2017, aims to double passenger capacity.
The 700,000 square metre terminal is designed to boost the capacity of the airport to 30 million passengers annually and will be used by Etihad Airways, the oil-rich emirate's flag carrier, and its partners.
Currently, the airport handles around 15 million passengers per year.
Abu Dhabi Airports' CEO, Tony Douglas, added: "This is a proud moment for Abu Dhabi Airports as it allows the whole world now to witness the hard work we have committed ourselves to, and the masterpiece we are striving to deliver for Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
"The achievement today, in spite of its architectural complexity, is being delivered 20 days ahead of schedule which again confirms that the MTB will be delivered on time and on budget."
The first arch that has been erected is one of the 18 arches to make up the steel primary structure for the MTB roof. By the end of 2014, all 18 arches will be completed and assembled.