Come early next year, business and first class travellers will be able to board the A380 aircraft direct from special lounges at Dubai Airport.

Dubai Airport is developing a new dedicated concourse ‘A’ within the existing structure. This will be a dedicated one for Airbus 380 and Boeing 777 types of aircraft. This will be used by Emirates and after some time by Australian airline Qantas. This new facility is part of its expansion project at the cost of $ 7.8 billion.

Giving details about the project, Dubai Airport’s Head of Marketing and Corporate Communication Lorne Riley told Business Line, “The new concourse will have 18 out of 20 gates with twin aerobridges. Twin Aerobridges will allow two different entry points to the aircraft, at upper deck for premium passengers and lower deck for economy passengers.” This new facility will enhance the capacity from 60 million to 75 million by first quarter of next year.

Emirates has ordered 90 A380s, of which it has already received 25. Despite India being its biggest destination market, none of the A380s is currently flying between Dubai and 17 destinations in India, since the Civil Aviation Ministry has not permitted any airline to use this big bird from Indian airports.

Meanwhile, Dubai Airport is hopeful that more and more Indian passengers will use the new facility for travel to Europe and US via Dubai. “This airport is strategically located as 2/3 of the world’s population lives within 8 hour flight from Dubai while remaining 1/3 lives within 4 hours,” Riley added. Over 150 airlines use Dubai Airport to connect 212 destinations all over the world.

Another airport official informed that during 2011, 68.4 lakh people travelled between India and Dubai. This number is likely to increase by 2-3 per cent during current year, he added. Seven airlines, including Air India, Air India Express, Jet Airways, Indigo, Spice Jet, Emirates and Fly Dubai provide service between India and Dubai.

Maximum number of people travelled on Mumbai-Dubai route followed by Delhi-Dubai, Chennai-Dubai and Chennai-Hyderabad. Emirates alone operates 185 flights every week to and from 10 destinations in India.

shishir.sinha@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 22, 2012)
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