By Tom Arnold
Terminal 3 opening will not repeat Heathrow gaffe; financial crisis will not hit growth - CEO.
Dubai International Airport's new $4.5 billion Terminal 3 will be opened gradually to avoid the chaos witnessed at London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 (T5) earlier this year, the CEO of Dubai Airports said on Thursday.
Speaking ahead of the opening of Terminal 3 on Oct. 14, Paul Griffiths also said the global financial crisis would not derail the company's growth plans, which include growing annual passenger traffic at Dubai airport to 75 million and launching flights from the new Al Maktoum International Airport by next summer.
Griffiths said Terminal 3, which is for the sole use of Dubai-owned airline Emirates, would be opened in four phases ending in December, when 265 daily flights will be operational to and from the terminal.
“Undoubtedly in a very complex building, which this is, there will be some issues, but the design of the programme is to ensure that we can deal with them and protect the public and they will only see the level of business they expect,” said Griffiths.
“We always said we wanted to do a different system for introduction and the T5 experience validated the approach that we really ought to do something different.”
The first phase from Oct. 14 includes 40 flights arriving and departing to destinations in the Gulf - including Doha, Muscat, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jeddah, Damman and Riyadh - and in the Americas, namely New York, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo and Toronto.
The second phase will open flights to the Middle East and Africa, with Europe, the Indian subcontinent, the Far East and Australia serviced in later phases.
Annual passenger numbers at the airport were expected to grow to around 40 million by the end of the year, Griffiths said. He said the airport would be able to handle up to 60 million passengers per year by 2010.
Terminal 3 includes the terminal where passengers check-in for their flights, Concourse 2, which houses the premium lounges, retail and shopping areas and the gates from where passengers board their flights, and a car park with close to 2,000 spaces.
The terminal is specifically designed to cater to Emirates' fleet of Airbus A380 superjumbos and will eventually boast 25 gates for the A380. The airline has placed the largest order in the world with a total of 58 set to be delivered in the coming years.
Dubai Airports is also building a second concourse, Concourse 3, which is expected to be built by 2011 at a cost of $3 billion, Griffiths said. He said Concourse 3 would enable passenger numbers to grow to around 75 million by 2015. It will have 18 A380 gates, he said.
Griffiths said the opening of Terminal 3 would secure the airport’s position as the world’s most significant aviation hub.
“Dubai is in a very unique geocentric position where we have by default become the world’s most significant hub and as aircraft technology has changed they have been able to fly longer routes, so the logical pairings of cities in the world that can be served via Dubai has increased. We are consolidating that position, seeing the future possibility of that growth," Griffiths said.
“We are in front and we intend fully to stay there. This is not a time to blink. Our plans both from Emirates and the airport are to continue to invest in building infrastructure of sufficient capacity and quality to fuel the growth plan not just for Dubai but the UAE.”
Griffiths said the first passenger flights from Al Maktoum International Airport could begin from autumn next year. He said cargo flights from the airport could begin next summer
Al Maktoum International Airport is part of Dubai World Central, a residential, commercial and logistics complex under construction in the Jebel Ali area of the city.
The airport will be the world's largest passenger and cargo hub once complete, and include six parallel runways, three passenger terminals and 16 cargo terminals.
The airport will have an annual passenger capacity of more than 120 million and an annual cargo capacity of 12 million tonnes.
I would be happy to see Terminal 3 runs without problem, but i wont be surprised to know that problems occurred, nothing starts perfect in this world anyway