Case Studies

Midfield Terminal Building | International Airport


TCA Joint Venture


Abu Dhabi Airport




Lightning Protection Study



In Construction


Project Overview

The Midfield Terminal Building (MTB) at Abu Dhabi International Airport represents a significant milestone in the United Arab Emirates’ aviation infrastructure. Scheduled to open in 2023, this state-of-the-art terminal is poised to accommodate up to 45 million passengers annually, offering an array of amenities while prioritizing energy efficiency and sustainability. However, the immense scale of the terminal presented a critical challenge: the risk of lightning strikes. Recognizing the potential structural, electrical, and safety hazards posed by lightning, GreyMatters undertook a Lightning Protection Study to ensure the terminal’s robust protection against such events. In this case study, we delve into the complexities of designing effective lightning protection for the MTB, highlighting GreyMatters’ pivotal role in resolving technical disputes and delivering a secure solution that upholds the highest standards of safety and compliance.



Midfield Terminal Building (MTB) is a new terminal at Abu Dhabi International Airport in the United Arab Emirates.
It has the capacity to handle up to 45 million passengers per year, and features a range of amenities such as duty-free shopping, dining options, and lounges. The terminal is being built to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly, with features such as solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system.
The enormous collection area of the MTB terminal building created a very real risk of being struck by lightning and getting the lightning protection, and earthing design right is key. The risks of an airport being struck by lightning are:

    – Structural damage: Lightning strikes can cause significant structural damage to buildings, including airport roofs. This could include cracking or melting of structural components, which could compromise the integrity of the roof and potentially lead to collapse.
    – Electrical damage: Lightning is a powerful source of electricity, and a strike to an airport roof could potentially cause electrical damage to the building’s electrical systems, including wiring, lighting, and electronic navigational
    – Fire: A lightning strike to an airport roof could also potentially start a fire. This could be caused by the ignition of flammable materials, such as insulation or roofing materials, or by damage to electrical systems that could create sparks or thermal ignition.
    – Injury: In rare cases, people who are in close proximity to a lightning strike could be injured by the lightning current or by flying debris, which could also damage nearby operational aircraft.

What part did GreyMatters Play?

Knowing that an effective and 100% compliant design to the latest standards was a prerequisite, two previous lightning experts were locked in a dispute on the design approach to adopt. Until that is, GreyMatters stepped in to scientifically resolve the complex technical issues that required a high level of knowledge and expertise to understand and settle the technical challenge. After resolving the technical issues and disputes, the large-scale construction project was able to continue knowing that a robust, technically secure solution had been developed and verified to protect the users of the MTB for many years to come.


In conclusion, GreyMatters’ intervention in the Midfield Terminal Building project exemplifies our commitment to resolving complex technical challenges and ensuring the safety and security of critical infrastructure. By providing scientifically sound solutions, we contribute to the success and longevity of large-scale construction projects.

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