Flying has changed a lot in its 100-year history, from entertainment-free and pricey flights to double-decker aircraft with wi-fi connections. And now Dubai is planning to also radically advance the entire experience before boarding the plane, from travelling to the airport to checking in luggage and passing through security and immigration.
“We’d like to take the whole airport process out of the airport, bringing the airport closer to the customer,” Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths explains to Arabian Business.
“So we envisage at some stage in the future a Downtown terminal — or indeed, a number of stations — where you can just drive up or get the metro, drop your bags off, check in, get on a train and then be whizzed straight to the airport in great comfort and be as close to the plane as we can get you.
“We want to make that journey seamless and efficient with minimal bureaucracy and processes.”
The superior journey is being integrated into the masterplan for Dubai’s second airport, Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC), which is partially open. It will link into existing public transport networks, with an extension to the Dubai Metro Red Line, upgrades to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road and, eventually, a national rail line.
“We’re trying to look at the airport as part of an integrated transport solution where we need to work very closely with the airlines and very closely with the RTA [Roads and Transport Authority] on rail and road options to produce a sort of end-to-end, home-to-home journey experience that is seamless and properly integrated, so you don’t have to keep checking your passport and go through security checks or deal with your baggage more than once,” Griffiths says.
“All of those things we’re trying to take to the next level in terms of the overall passenger convenience.”
Dubai Airports, which also operates Dubai International, has already sped up the throughput at security by four times just by introducing machines that automatically return the trays used to carry passengers’ belongings through the x-ray machines.
“We’ve got rid of security queues for pretty much all the time,” Griffiths says.
Article continued on next page...