Zayed International Airport: Abu Dhabi Airport Gets New Name


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Not only is Abu Dhabi Airport getting a new terminal, but it’s also getting a new name…

Abu Dhabi Airport being named after Zayed

As of February 9, 2024, Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) will officially be renamed Zayed International Airport. The significance of the date is that this is when the official opening ceremony for the new terminal is taking place, even though the terminal will already have been in operation for several months.

This change is coming under a directive from the President of the UAE, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (who is also the ruler of Abu Dhabi). Presumably the airport is being named after Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE, who is also his father. He was also the first president of the UAE, and served in that role from 1971 until 2004, when he passed away.

I’m not a fan of “named” airports

I totally get how airports end up being named after people. It’s a way to honor someone who played a significant role in a place. And I especially get it in the Middle East, where everything is government owned, and there are rulers who call all the shots. In the United States, we also have a bad habit of naming some airports after politicians, which just seems a bit much to me, especially with how divisive seemingly everything has become.

All that being said, personally I very much appreciate when airports are just named simply, based on their location. I don’t want to connect at Hamad, or Zayed, or Hartsfield-Jackson, or George Bush Intercontinental. I’d rather connect in Doha, or Abu Dhabi, or Atlanta, or Houston. For cities with multiple airports, it would be nice if the names reflected the specific areas they’re in, or some other identifying feature, rather than just being named after different people.

Naming an airport after a person just creates additional confusion, and makes virtually every announcement longer. Soon, presumably Etihad crews will be welcoming people to “Zayed International Airport in Abu Dhabi,” rather than “Abu Dhabi International Airport.”

Bottom line

As of February 2024, Abu Dhabi International Airport will be renamed Zayed International Airport, after the founder of the UAE. This coincides with the official opening ceremony of the airport’s new terminal.

What do you make of Abu Dhabi Airport being renamed?

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