The move follows the announcement by Abu Dhabi Airports Company (Adac) that the AED1bn ($272m) Terminal 3 is set to be fully operational by early 2009, following the opening of the airport’s second runway on 12 October.

The UAE national carrier began flying a limited number of departures from the new terminal in September but passengers for these flights are brought in from the existing Terminal 1.

“By the end of October, we hope to be in a position to have flights arrive at the new terminal,” says an Etihad spokesman.

Terminal 3 will be a dedicated facility for Etihad with Adac launching a phased opening over the coming weeks.

Once Etihad begins receiving arrivals at the terminal, the next phase will be to begin to check in passengers at the site. A final phase in early 2009 will involve the food, retail and duty-free facilities opening fully.