From Curb to Gate in 12 Minutes: Inside the World’s Fastest Airport!

Abu Dhabi Airport's Terminal A will have flight boarding in 3 seconds - and check-ins at 10 seconds

Discover the remarkable transformation happening at Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Terminal A, where biometric technology is revolutionizing travel experiences.

The aviation industry has always been at the forefront of innovation, constantly striving to make the traveller’s journey smoother and more efficient. Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Terminal A is a shining example of this commitment to excellence. This gleaming new terminal, which opened on November 1, has revolutionised air travel by deploying cutting-edge biometric services at various touchpoints. In this article, we’ll take you through Terminal A, exploring how biometrics have transformed the passenger experience from curb to gate.

The Swift Transition: From Minutes to Seconds

In the fast-paced world of air travel, every second counts. Terminal A at Abu Dhabi International Airport has made significant strides in reducing passenger wait times by setting new standards for efficiency.

Biometric Magic: Boarding in 3 Seconds

One of the most impressive changes is the speed at which passengers can board their flights. Thanks to biometric technology, boarding now takes an astonishing 3 seconds, a quantum leap from the lengthy processes at older terminals.

Check-In Revolution: 10 Seconds Flat

Checking in for your flight has never been quicker. Terminal A has streamlined the check-in process to 10 seconds, compared to the minute or more it used to take at other airport terminals.

Curb to Gate in 12 Minutes

The ultimate goal of Terminal A is to provide passengers with a seamless experience, allowing them to go from the curb to the gate in approximately 12 minutes. Such efficiency is unprecedented in the world of air travel.

Abu Dhabi Airport's Terminal A will have flight boarding in 3 seconds - and check-ins at 10 seconds

The Power of Biometrics

Terminal A’s transformation is powered by state-of-the-art biometric services seamlessly integrated into various aspects of the passenger journey.

A Touch of the Future: Biometric Touchpoints

At Terminal A, biometric services are deployed at five key touchpoints across the airport. These include auto-enrollment, self-service check-in, self-service bag drop, immigration e-gates, and boarding gates. Let’s dive into how each of these touchpoints enhances the travel experience.

Auto-Enrollment: Your Data, Automatically Registered

Gone are the days of needing an extra touchpoint to submit biometric data. With auto-enrollment, your data is automatically registered, ensuring a hassle-free journey.

All-Inclusive Access: For UAE Nationals, Residents, and Tourists

The beauty of these biometric services is that they cater to a wide audience. Whether you’re a UAE national, resident, or tourist, as long as you’ve travelled through any UAE airport in the past 7 years, these services will apply. The system seamlessly syncs with immigration authorities’ records, guaranteeing the security of your data.

Paperless Travel: Immigration and Boarding without Documents

In a move that aligns with the airport’s commitment to sustainability, Terminal A introduced facilities for navigating through immigration and boarding processes without needing physical documents last year. This not only reduces paper waste but also expedites the passenger journey.

Expanding Horizons: From Etihad Airways to All Airlines

While self-service check-in is exclusive to Etihad Airways customers, Terminal A has ambitious plans. The airport aims to extend these services to customers of all airlines operating within its premises, ensuring a level playing field for all travellers.

Retail Revolution: Biometrics Beyond Travel

Terminal A’s innovation doesn’t stop at passenger operations and safety. The next phase of biometric services will expand to nine touchpoints within the airport, encompassing check-in, retail experiences, and airport lounges.

Beyond the Terminal: A Glimpse into the Retail Future

Imagine a future where your biometric profile enhances your duty-free shopping experience. Passengers can voluntarily join a loyalty scheme, enabling a seamless and personalized journey through duty-free shops. Similarly, when it comes to services like car rentals or access to airline lounges, biometrics will pave the way for a tailored experience, particularly for Business Class travellers.

Expanding the Retail Universe

Maureen Bannerman, the Chief Commercial Officer at Abu Dhabi Airports, sheds light on the airport’s plans to bolster its retail operations. With 124 outlets already in place, Terminal A anticipates an increase to 163, accommodating additional brands. Additionally, the airport is gearing up to introduce five more Food and Beverage (F&B) establishments and service establishments to meet the growing passenger demand.


Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Terminal A is redefining air travel as we know it. With the seamless integration of biometric technology, passengers can now experience faster check-ins, lightning-fast boarding, and a personalized retail journey. As the airport continues to expand its biometric services, we can only imagine the incredible innovations that lie ahead, making travel not just convenient but genuinely extraordinary. Prepare to embark on a journey where time is on your side and the future of air travel is at your fingertips. Welcome to Terminal A—a place where innovation meets aviation.

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