Air Traffic Control Complex

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

Given continuous and projected passenger increase numbers at AUH, establishing a superior Air Traffic Control facility became necessary for accommodating passenger traffic growth and enhancing aircraft movement safety.

Our new Air Traffic Control Complex (ATCC) was completed in 2010 and has since equipped AUH and our teams and personnel with the first-rate technology required 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, respectively.


The ATCC is situated opposite the new Terminal A and between the parallel runways, providing optimum line of sight to all the maneuvering areas and aprons of AUH.

The importance of ATCC

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

As part of the AUH expansion programme, the new Terminal A is being built between the two parallel runways to avoid restricting line of sight to the north runway and associated taxiways from the existing ATC tower 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 installing Air Traffic Control (ATC) systems to Thales, the global market leader in Air Traffic Management (ATM) systems, civil radars and navigation aids.

Thales was selected for its proven track record for enhancing operational capabilities, increasing safety and facilitating speedy traffic-handling operations at airports around the world.

Integrating EUROCAT and EUROCAT-T ATM systems, the solution allows our 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, environmentally friendly sunscreens 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