Air Traffic Control Complex

Our Air Navigation Services team plays a vital role in maintaining a safe, expeditious and efficient air transport network.

A superior Air Traffic Control facility recently became a clear necessity given the imminent increase in passenger numbers at Abu Dhabi International Airport, not only to accommodate the growth in traffic but to enhance the safety of all aircraft movements.

Our new Air Traffic Control Complex (ATCC), completed in early 2010, now equips the team with first-rate technology it requires for these purposes.

ATCC makeup

The 109 metre high ATCC consists of a single building with Aerodrome and Ground Control located in the Visual Room at the top and Approach Control on Level 1.


The ATCC is situated opposite the new Midfield Terminal and between the parallel runways, providing optimum line of sight to all the manoeuvring areas and aprons of Abu Dhabi International Airport.

The need for the new ATCC

Our Air Navigation Service handled a total of 135,213tower and approach movements at Abu Dhabi International Airport alone in 2013. The daily average is expected to increase from 370 in 2013 to 598 in 2030.

As part of the expansion programme of Abu Dhabi International Airport, the new Midfield Terminal Building will be built between the two parallel runways. This would have severely restricted the line of sight to the north runway and associated taxiways from the existing ATC tower located at Terminal 1.


The overall design was inspired by our maritime heritage and evokes the look of a traditional dhow and its sail – a cultural icon of Abu Dhabi and the UAE. This is a welcome sight for passengers coming in to land.


We awarded the contract for the installation of the latest-generation Air Traffic Control (ATC) systems to Thales, the global market leader in Air Traffic Management (ATM) systems, civil radars and navigation aids.

The systems were selected to enhance the airport’s operational capabilities and increase airport safety while facilitating speedy traffic-handling operations.

Integrating EUROCAT and EUROCAT-T ATM systems, the solution allows Air Traffic Controllers to share data on aircraft positions and operate seamless handovers between sectors.

The systems integrate the most advanced ATM automation features needed for world-leading:

  • Air Traffic Control and Airport Ground Control systems
  • Aeronautical Information Systems (AIS)
  • Messages Switching (AFTN/AMHS) systems.

Environmentally friendly

A modern architectural finish of polycarbonate, ETFE foil cushions and aluminium cladding provides highly effective sunscreens that are environmentally friendly and designed to last for years to come.

Facts & figures

  • At the peak of construction, a total of 1,200 workmen were on site.
  • Construction work was carried out 24 hours a day.
  • Over 70 kilometres of electronic cabling was installed throughout the building to connect various systems within the ATCC.
  • The overall project cost was AED 430 million.
  • The project took 629 days to complete.
  • Two high-speed lifts are capable of ascending from the ground floor to the 20th storey in just 55 seconds.