Locates some 30 kilometres from the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, the Abu Dhabi International Airport is the second largest airport in the country next to the Dubai International Airport. It is one of the fastest growing airports in the world in terms of passengers, new airline operators, infrastructure, and development, and is a rising star in the region in terms of transporting passengers and travellers via air.
The airport is set east of Abu Dhabi in the Emirate of the same name. It has served over 12 million passengers in 2010, with registered passenger movements rising to almost 21 million in 2012. It has recorded 176,850 aircraft movements in the same year, and has an economic impact reaching almost $3.5 billion within the period. Under construction, the airport plans to add another section on its three-terminal schema, which is spread in over 3,400 hectares of land. The terminals are currently dominated by Etihad Airways, the second largest airline next to another Arab giant, Emirates.
Airlines that travel to the destination include Aegean Airlines, Air Astana, Air Berlin, Air India, EgyptAir, Etihad, Gulf Air, Jet Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Philippine Airlines, Saudia, and many others. In total, the airport handles 53 airlines and serves 85 destinations in 49 countries on all inhabited continents, an honour only shared by three other airports, namely the Dubai International Airport, the Johannesburg-OR Tambo Airport, and the Hamad International Airport.
What to see & do
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – the pristine Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates' greatest treasures (if not the greatest, arguably). It is located at the heart of the city, and is considered as both an architectural and religious wonder. The whole of the mosque can accommodate up to 40,000 worshippers, with over 80 marble domes held aloft by over 1,000 pillars, and punctuated by four 107-metre high minarets. Design inspirations came from Morocco, Turkey, and even India's opulent Taj Mahal, with an interior that is made to impress. A mix of marble, gold, semi-precious stones, crystals, and ceramics have
been embedded on its walls, and with over 2,000 pairs of hands working on the whole of the structure, it is not surprising that it turned out to be so beautiful.
Emirates National Auto Museum – the Emirates National Auto Museum is one of those roadside attractions one does not really expect. Some 45 kilometres south of Abu Dhabi, the lonely pyramid-shaped museum holds 250 vehicles, from concept cars to American classics – with the oldest display dating from 1885. It is the private collection of Sheikh Hamad bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, also known as the 'Rainbow Sheikh', who bought seven Mercedes 500 SELs and painted each one with the colours of the rainbow to use for each day of the week. Do not miss the strange vehicles parked in front of the building: a monster truck, an eight-bedroom motor home complete with balcony, and the 'earth on wheels' in the form of the Globe trailer.
Ferrari World – another amusement park located within Yas Island, Ferrari World claims to be the largest indoor theme park in the world. The adrenaline-pumping Formula Rossa is located here, along with a couple of rides.
How to get around within Abu Dhabi
Taking the taxi is a great way for people to travel around Abu Dhabi especially if they don't have a car. Taxis are fairly cheap, and are convenient as they can be found everywhere. Abu Dhabi is also well-endowed with buses and the network is mostly connected to many areas and destinations. Some bus routes connect Abu Dhabi to major cities in other Emirates, while still some others bring travellers to popular parks. Walking is a common way to get around, but for travellers from colder countries, it can be a pain as the heat can exceed 50 degrees Celsius and can be stifling, so to speak. Cars are also available for rent, however, travellers have to be careful when driving here – most people are reckless and impolite in the roads. And despite a seamless traffic signal system and excellent roads, vehicular accidents remain the largest cause of deaths in the city and in UAE, so do be careful.
How to get there
The Abu Dhabi International Airport is the main airport serving the capital of the UAE. Airlines that travel to the destination include Aegean Airlines, Air Astana, Air Berlin, Air India, EgyptAir, Etihad, Gulf Air, Jet Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, and Qatar Airways. Note that when visiting, some places require certain dress codes, so be prepared.
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Airports near Abu Dhabi International
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