Hollywood megastar Tom Cruise flew in on the first flight to arrive at Abu Dhabi’s new $3 billion Midfield Terminal on Sunday, although this isn’t the first time that the Oscar-nominated actor has visited the massive 742,000 square meter terminal, which isn’t yet open to the public.
In fact, Cruise has already seen parts of the airport that normal passengers will never get to see after using the gigantic building in one of the most gripping action sequences of the latest ‘Mission: Impossible’ film ‘Dead Reckoning – Part 1’.
Famed for doing his own daring stunts, Cruise was aloft the Midfield Terminal’s 315-metre roof to film one of the movie’s most “technically complex action scenes”. The inside of the terminal will also feature prominently in the movie – the first time that the public has been given a glimpse inside the megastructure.
The scenes required 21 days of preparation, 7 days of filming production and involved 762 cast, crew and suppliers.
The opportunity to see what the terminal looks like inside has been a long time coming, however. In fact, the terminal was originally meant to open in early 2017, but construction delays meant the project timeline kept on slipping.
There was then talk that the terminal could open by the end of 2019, but the year ended without any news and then the pandemic struck. Then, in 2021, sources claimed the Abu Dhabi government had axed a contract with the construction company which was building the terminal.
Designed as the new home for Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, things looked uncertain for the Midfield Terminal given Etihad’s painful restructuring, which saw the carrier shrink amid talk that the airline could be transformed into a regional boutique carrier.
Etihad, however, now has ambitious growth plans once again, and several months ago, sources started to brief that the Midfield Terminal would be open by the end of 2023.
The Midfield Terminal will replace Abu Dhabi’s rapidly ageing and crowded terminal buildings. It will be able to serve as many as 84 million people per year, with a floor space of over 742,000 square metres, 28,000 square metres of Duty Free shops and 30,000 square metres of premium lounges.
“The scenes showcased in the movie are a testament to the architecture, scale and design of the iconic Midfield Terminal, which is inspired by the cultural elements of Abu Dhabi,” commented Elena Sorlini, the acting CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports, on Sunday.
Etihad Airways has become the official airline of the ‘Mission: Impossible’ franchise, and to celebrate that airline has adorned a Boeing 787 Dreamliner with a custom livery to celebrate the seventh film in the franchise.
The Midfield Terminal has also been given a similar movie-themed branding – although whether passengers will get to see the design anytime soon remains to be seen.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.