British Airways flight BA 105 recently became the first to be welcomed at Dubai International Airport’s new Concourse D.
Ahead of the arrival Phil Blizzard to spoke to Paul Grififths, chief executive of Dubai Airports, about the expansion and what it means for Dubai as a tourism and aviation hub.
Breaking Travel News: What will this new terminal mean to passengers using Dubai International Airport?
Paul Griffiths: What it will mean for customers that check-in at terminal one for the airlines that operate from T1 is much greater experience and one which will be much smoother.
Instead of getting down the escalator through the tunnel and emerging into Concourse C, which was built in 2000, passengers will now go up an escalator into a train station.
There will be a short train journey between terminal one and Concourse D and passengers will emerge from the train into a whole new world of what we hope will be a pretty high quality service.
BTN: So what can passengers expect off the step off the train into Concourse D?
PG: Well, the airline partners we’ve got have come up with some very unusual and fresh designs in their lounge experience.
At the same time, the whole food and beverage offerings put in place by Dubai Airports at this new concourse will be great.
We’ve got renewed celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck, we’ve got the first Pret A Manger in a Middle Eastern airport and the CNN News Café for the news junkies!
Other firsts for DXB include Butlers Chocolate Café and Camden Food Company, which will bring healthy yet tasty dining options using organic and natural products.
For those who enjoy a little theatre with their food, YO! Sushi will be a popular addition to the airport.
British Airways flight 105 became the first to land at Dubai International’s new Concourse D earlier
BTN: So what is the overall philosophy driving in the design of the new concourse?
PG: The idea is that we want to give our passengers a top quality, international experience for not just the restaurants and bar offer, but also for the shopping experience.
And the biggest, I think, passenger benefit is, we’re not crowding people into closed gate rooms.
They’ll be able to circulate freely around the airports and find their seats before their flight departs.
BTN: What else can passengers experience in terms of comfort and well-being?
PG: The new concourse will offer plenty of comfortable seating spaces and wellbeing concepts such as Be Relax and the ever-popular ‘SnoozeCubes’ which provide a convenient way to rest between flights.
It will also feature a total of nine lounges spread over 6,926m2, including five airline lounges, a new Al Majlis lounge, two Dubai International Hotel lounges and a Marhaba VIP lounge.
The opening of Concourse D boosts has increased its capacity of Dubai International from 75 million to 90 million and is the result of a US$1.2 billion investment to enhance service and boost capacity for the more than 70 international airlines that will now call it home.
The arrival of British Airways’ flight 105 followed months of intensive testing and a successful operational trial involving 2,000 members of the public earlier this month.
The trial volunteers played the role of passengers arriving at, departing from and transiting through Concourse D, testing way-finding signage, food and retail outlets and the flow of passenger traffic within the new building.
Two airlines operated from Concourse D on day one (British Airways, Royal Jordanian) with the remainder being phased in with operations over the next few weeks.
On the apron, Concourse D provides 21 contact stands, of which four will be able to accommodate Airbus A380 or Boeing 747 aircraft, and 11 remote stands with a design capacity for 18 million passengers.