By Staff writer
New facility comes as operator Dubai Airports forecasts passenger growth to 85 million this year
Dubai International, the world's number one hub for international passenger traffic, increased its capacity from 75 million to 90 million on Wednesday with the opening of Concourse D.
The $1.2 billion investment aims to enhance service and boost capacity for the more than 70 international airlines that will operate from the facility, a statement said.
The opening comes as operator Dubai Airports predicts that 85 million passengers will use Dubai International this year.
"We continue to invest in the development of top-flight infrastructure to augment service levels for our international airlines and their customers while providing the capacity needed to meet growing demand," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Airports, president of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and chairman and CEO of Emirates Group.
"Concourse D has been designed with the customer at its heart. Shorter walking distances, more comfortable seating areas, more choice in lounges and a world-class retail and F&B offering are sure to impress and delight our passengers and our airline partners."
The first flight to be welcomed at the facility was British Airways' flight 105 and follows months of intensive testing and a successful operational trial involving 2,000 members of the public earlier this month.
Two airlines will operate from Concourse D on day one - British Airways, Royal Jordanian - with the remainder phasing in operations over the next several weeks.
"Aside from its many customer-centric features, Concourse D continues our legacy of providing timely capacity," said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports. "Today we also announce our 2016 forecast which projects 85 million passengers will visit Dubai International this year. With the addition of Concourse D, Dubai International is getting both bigger and better."
The concourse is linked to the newly renovated Terminal 1 by a dedicated airport train that can transport 300 passengers per trip. Designed around a central atrium, Concourse D offers short walks to open gates, which will allow travellers to board directly from the waiting area, giving them more freedom and time to use food and beverage outlets.
A number of brands will be introduced to Dubai and the region for the first time including a casual dining concept The Kitchen which will offer passengers creations from the renowned celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck.
Dubai Airports will also introduce the first Pret a Manger in a Middle Eastern airport while other firsts include Butlers Chocolate Café and Camden Food Company, YO! Sushi and the CNN News Café.
The new concourse will also feature a total of nine lounges, including five airline lounges, a new Al Majlis lounge, two Dubai International Hotel lounges and a Marhaba VIP lounge.
Dubai Duty Free has a total of 175 vendor installations in Concourse D spread over an area of 7,000 sq m, bringing the operation's total retail space at Dubai International to 33,000 sq m.
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.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.