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Dubai Airports opens $3.2bn A380 concourse

on Jan 3, 2013

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Dubai Airports has announced the phased opening of the $3.2bn (AED; 12bn) Concourse A at Dubai International Airport's Terminal 3, which is the first in the world that has been specifically built for the huge Airbus A380.

The concourse, which took around three years to build, was brought into operation yesterday (January 2) with the first flight leaving from Dubai to London's Heathrow airport.

Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, said: “Just as we did with what turned out to be a flawless opening of Terminal 3 and Concourse B in 2008 – which was a much larger and more complex exercise involving the complete transfer of Emirates airline’s operations to the new facility – we are opening Concourse A in stages with more gates coming online in each successive phase.

"We believe that this approach of gradual transition will enable us and all our partners to ensure smooth operations and help us to deliver on our customer service commitment.”

Concourse A has been built as part of a $7.8bn long term strategic plan to upgrade the airport, and once fully operational it will increase capacity from 60m to 75m passengers a year. The 528,000m2 facility is spread over 11 floors.

It contains around 11,000m2 of retail space, a 32-room, five-star hotel, 12,438m2 of first-class lounge space and 16,553m2 of business class space. It also has two restarauants, food courts and bars.

More than 500 passengers on the first flight took advantage of the facilities of the concourse, which includes double-height air bridges offering direct lounge boarding for passengers in first and business class seats.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Emirates Group and Dubai Airports Group, described the initial flight as "a historic and momentous occasion".

"We are confident that our customers will find the new concourse to be a remarkable world class facility befitting of our flagship Emirates A380 aircraft."

The concourse project was a key feature in the 2012 Construction Week Awards, with main contractor ALEC being named as Contractor of the Year. Alec's Eddie Pickles, who was responsible for organising a workforce on the project that peaked at 18,000, was also named Project Manager of the Year.