Interview: Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths

These days it’s not the travel that takes forever, it’s the process of even getting on board a plane. But Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths reveals how he’s planning to have you flying through check in, security and immigration, all from a remote terminal linked to the airport gate via a bullet train


Paul Griffiths joined Dubai Airports as its first CEO in October 2007.

Paul Griffiths joined Dubai Airports as its first CEO in October 2007.

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.

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Posted by: Philip Bay

When I tell friends in Abu Dhabi or Dubai that I almost always use DWC, they shake their heads in disbelief. However, DWC is an amazing airport to use. It's practically in between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, numerous low-cost airlines use the airport already, and frankly speaking, arrivals and departures are so seamless that a passenger could almost use this facility blindfolded.
DWC is the elephant in the china closet when it comes to competition with European hubs five years from now.
This will be the airport everybody talks about very soon.

Posted by: Steven

Yes - and I have said for many years that in time, this WILL become 'ABU DUBAI' Airport

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