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Dubai International Airport ( ) is an international airport serving Dubaimarker, the largest city of the United Arab Emiratesmarker. It is a major aviation hub in the Middle East, and is the main airport of Dubai. It is situated in the Al Garhoudmarker district, southeast of Dubai. The airport is operated by the Department of Civil Aviation and is the home base of Dubai's international airline, Emirates and Emirates SkyCargo; the Emirates hub is the largest airline hub in the Middle East and Africa; Emirates handles 60% of all passenger traffic, and accounts for 38% of all aircraft movements at the airport. Dubai Airport is also the base for low-cost carrier, Flydubai. As of June 2009, there over 5,600 weekly flights operated by nearly 100 airlines to over 200 destinations across all six continents.

In 2009, the airport was the 17th busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic and 11th busiest by cargo traffic.The airport also was the 6th busiest airport in the world by international passenger traffic.
In addition to being an important passenger traffic hub, the airport is one of the the busiest cargo airports in the world, handling 1.824 million tonnes of cargo in 2008, a 9.4% increase of cargo traffic since 2007. The new $4.5 billion Terminal 3 opened on 14 October 2008, and was built exclusively for the use of Emirates Airline. Concourse 3 is also part of Terminal 3, and is expected to be completed by 2011. It will be built exclusively for the Emirates Airbus A380. Terminal 3 added   to the airport and is the single largest building in the world by floor space.
Dubai International Airport will be complemented by Al Maktoum International Airportmarker (Dubai World Central International Airport), a new airport that will help handle the influx of travellers well into the future.


The history of Civil Aviation in Dubai started in July 1937 when an Air Agreement was signed for a flying boat base for the aircraft of Imperial Airways with rental of the base at about 440 Rupees per month – this included the guards wages.The Empire Flying Boats also started operating once a week flying East to Karachi and West to Southampton, England. By February 1938, there were 4 flying boats a week.

In the 1940s flying from Dubai was by flying boats operated by British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), operating the Horseshoe line from Southern Africa via the Persian Gulfmarker to Sydneymarker.


A model of Dubai Airport as it looked in 1959
Construction of the airport was ordered by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, in 1959. It officially opened in 1960 with its first airfield, at which time it was able to handle aircraft the size of a Douglas DC-3 on a long runway made of compacted sand. Three turning-areas, an apron and small terminal completed the airport that was constructed by Costain.

With the expansion of the Airport Fire Services it was necessary to find more suitable accommodation and a hangar style building was made available to them at the end of 1976. This was located midway between the runway ends to facilitate efficient operations. A new building was also constructed to house the Airport Maintenance Engineer, Electronics Engineering section and Stores unit.Expansion of the Airport Restaurant and Transit Lounge including the refurbishing of the upper level and the provision of a new kitchen was completed in December 1978.

In May 1963 construction of a asphalt runway started. This new runway, alongside the original sand runway and taxiway opened in May 1965, together with several new extensions were added to the Terminal Building, hangars erected, Airport and Navigational aids were installed.The installation of the lighting system continued after official opening and was completed in August of that year. During the second half of the 1960s several extensions, equipment upgrades like a VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) and an instrument landing system (ILS) as well as new buildings were constructed. By 1969, the airport was served by 9 airlines serving some 20 destinations.

The inauguration was on 15 May 1965 and was marked by the visits of the first big jets of Middle East Airlines and Kuwait Airways Comets.

The advent of wide body aircraft a need for further airport development in the 1970’s which had already been foreseen by the Ruler of Dubai and plans for a new Terminal, runways and taxiways capable of coping with international flights.The construction of a new terminal building consisting of a three storey building 110 metres long and included an enclosed floor area of 13,400 square metres. A new 28 metre control tower was also constructed.

Expansion continued in the early 1970s including ILS Category II equipment, lengthening existing runway to , installation of a non-directional beacon (NDB), diesel generators, taxiways, etc. This work made handling the Boeing 747 and Concorde possible. Several runway and apron extensions were carried out through the decade to meet growing demand.

The new precision category 2 Approach and Runway Lighting System was commissioned. The construction of the Airport Fire Station and the installation of the Generators were completed in December and was fully operational in March 1972.The ruler also commissioned and inaugurated the Long-range Surveillance System on the 19 June 1973.

The next phase of development was the second runway, which was completed three months ahead of schedule and opened in April 1984. This runway, located 360 metres north of the existing runway and parallel to it and is equipped with the latest meteorological, airfield lighting and instrument landing systems to give the airport a Category II classification.
A model of the airport in 1959
Also several extensions and upgrades of terminal facilities and supporting systems were carried out. On 23 December 1980 the airport became ordinary member of the Airports Council International (ACI).

During the 1980s, Dubai was a stopping point for airlines such as Air India, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and others travelling between Asia and Europe that needed a refuelling point in the Persian Gulfmarker. This use was made redundant with the advent of longer-range aircraft introduced in the late 1980s and early 1990s such as the Airbus A340, the Boeing 747-400 and the Boeing 777 series aircraft, which had the range to fly between Europe and Southeast Asia nonstop.


Departures in Terminal 3
Arrivals in Terminal 3

Under the Dubai International Airport Masterplan, reassessment of the runway system and development of the taxiways was done as phase 1.

Phase 2 has a total investment of around $4.5 Billion, and construction began in 2002. For phase 2 of the masterplan, a new terminal building was constructed to accommodate the increasing number of passengers, bringing the capacity of 33 million passengers a year (with 30 million and 3 million of Terminal 1 and 2 respectively), to at least 60 million ( 27 Million) passengers per year by the end of 2008. This was phase 2, the construction of Terminal 3 and Concourse 2.

Also as part of phase 2, the airport will expand to handle at least 75 - 80 million ( 15 million) passengers per annum with the opening of Concourse 3 which will be part of Terminal 3. However, recent communications predict a further increase to 80 million passengers with additional reassessments of existing capacities.

In addition, also part of the phase 2 development was the opening of the Dubai Flower Centre. The airport saw the need for this as the city is a flower hub for import and export of flowers and the airport required a specialist facility since these products need special conditions.Aprons and taxiways were also expanded and strengthened. In addition, work on other taxiways in the area was expanded in order to complete the work associated with the re-commissioned second runway.

In 2009, Terminal 2 expanded its facilities to handle 5 million ( 2 million) passengers annually, taking the airport's total capacity to 62 million passengers. The Department of Civil Aviation has also said that Terminal 2 will continuously be upgraded and expanded to bring the total capacity of the airport from the initial 75 million passengers to 80 million passenger capacity by 2012.

Construction of Terminal 3 began in 2004, with an estimated cost of around $4.55 billion. Originally planned for completion in 2006, the date was delayed by two years.On 30 May 2008, a topping out ceremony for the terminal was conducted. The terminal became operational on 14 October 2008, with Emirates Airline (EK2926) from Jeddahmarker, Saudi Arabiamarker, being the first flight to arrive at the new terminal, and EK843 to Dohamarker, Qatarmarker being the first departing flight.
The terminal increases the airport's maximum passenger capacity annually by 43 million, bringing the total annual capacity up to 60 million passengers.

With the arrival of the Airbus A380, the airport put into place modifications works costing $230 million. These included the building of 29 gates capable of handling the large aircraft, five of which are in Terminal 3, and 2 which are in Terminal 1. Other important projects at the airport include the next stage of the phase 2 development, which includes the construction of Concourse 3. This will be a smaller version of Concourse 2, which is connected to Terminal 3. Construction has already begun and is expected to be completed within two years, with plans to open by late 2011.

The Cargo Mega Terminal, which will have the capacity to handle 3 million tonnes of cargo a year, is a major development; it is going to be built in the long term. Completion for the Mega terminal is expected to be no later than 2018. Terminal 2 will be completely redeveloped to match the status of the other two terminals. With all of these projects completed by 2012, the airport expects to handle over at least 75-80 million passengers and over 5 million tonnes of cargo.

The airport will also undergo an expansion to allow two stations of the Red Line of the Dubai Metro to be built within the complex. One station will be constructed in Terminal 1 and the other in Terminal 3. The line is expected to be fully operational on 9. September, 2009.The second Green Line of the Dubai Metro will pass through the Airport free zone, which will serve the Dubai Airport area, and the Terminal 2.The proposed 52 kilometers Purple Line will link Dubai International airport and Al Maktoum International Airportmarker, which is currently being built at Jebel Alimarker].

The airport was built at a cost of some US$5.5 billion and can handle over 62 million passengers and 2.1 million tonnes of cargo a year and is expanding to accommodate over 80 million passengers by 2012. When the full expansion program will be completed by 2011, the airport will have three terminals and three concourses, two cargo mega terrminals, an airport free zone, an expo centre with three large exhibition halls, a major aircraft maintenance hub and a flower centre to handle perishable goods.

Dubai's government has announced the construction of a new airport in Jebel Alimarker termed Al Maktoum International Airportmarker. It is expected upon completion to be the fourth largest airport in the world by physical size, though not by passenger metrics. It is expected to open in 2010, however construction is expected to finish by the year 2017. On completion, the airport is expected to be able to accommodate up to 160 million passengers. There has been an official plan to build the Dubai Metro Purple Line to connect Al Maktoum International Airport to Dubai International Airport; construction is set to begin in 2012. There have been rumours that the purple line is on hold, or even cancelled.

Growth in traffic at Dubai International Airport
Airlines 1986 1990 1994 1998 2002 2006
Passenger movements 3.775 million 4.347 million 6.299 million 9.732 million 15.973 million 28.788 million (2006)
Airfreight movements 99,338 tonnes 144,282 tonnes 243,092 tonnes 431,777 tonnes 764,193 tonnes 1.410 million tonnes(2006)
City links 19 36 54 110 170 >215 (June 2006)
Weekly scheduled flights N/A N/A N/A About 2,300 About 2,850 >4,550 (June 2006)

Air traffic

Main airlines based at DXB

The Departures Hall in Terminal 3
  • Emirates Airline is the largest airline operating at the airport, with an all-wide-body fleet of over 130 Airbus and Boeing aircraft based at Dubai, providing scheduled services to the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Australia and New Zealandmarker. It operates exclusively from Terminal 3.
  • Emirates SkyCargo, a subsidiary of Emirates, operates scheduled all-cargo services between Dubai and the rest of the world.
  • Flydubai, a new low-cost airline planning to operate over 50 aircraft on scheduled passenger services to and from Dubai, to the Middle East, Africa, Europe and South Asia. It operates from Terminal 2.

Recreational flying to Dubai is catered for by the Dubai Aviation Club, which undertakes flying training for private pilots and provides facilities for private owners.

The Government of Dubai provides short and long range search and rescue services, police support, medical evacuation and general purpose flights for the airport and all VIP flights to the airport.


Arrivals at Terminal 3

Entrance to Concourse 2
Dubai International Airport was conceptualised to function as Dubai's primary airport and the region's busiest for the foreseeable future without the need for relocation or the building of another airport when passenger figures increased. The area was chosen near to Dubaimarker, to attract passengers from the city of Dubai, rather than travel to the busier Sharjah International Airportmarker. The planned location originally was Jebel Alimarker.

The original master plan for the existing airport initially involved a dual-terminal and one runway configuration over two phases with provisions for another two passenger terminals in the near future. Phase 1 included the construction for the first passenger terminal, the first runway, 70 aircraft parking bays, support facilities and structures, including a large maintenance hangar, the first fire station, workshops and administrative offices, an airfreight complex, two cargo agents' buildings, in-flight catering kitchens and a control tower. Construction for the second phase would commence immediately after the completion of Phase 1 and include the second runway, 50 new aircraft parking bays in addition to the existing 70 bays, a second fire station and a third cargo agent building.

The third phase included construction of a new terminal (now the parts of Terminal 1's main building and Concourse 1) and an additional 60 parking bays, as well as new aircraft maintenance facility. then, in the early 2000s a new master plan was introduced.

The ATC tower and the connection between Concourse 1 and 2

Air traffic control tower

The air traffic control tower (ATC) was constructed as part of phase two of the then-development plan.


Dubai International Airport has four terminals altogether. Terminal 1 has one concourse, Terminal 2 is set apart from the other two main buildings and Terminal 3 is divided into Concourse 2 and 3. The cargo terminal is capable of handling 3 million tonnes of cargo annually and a general aviation terminal (GAT) is located close by.

Passenger terminals

Dubai Airport currently has three passenger terminals. Terminals 1 and 3 are directly connected with a common transit area, with airside passengers being able to move freely between the terminals without going through immigration, whilst Terminal 2 is built on the opposite end of the airport. For transiting passengers, a shuttle service runs between the terminals, with a journey time of around 20 minutes from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1, and 30 minutes to Terminal 3.

Situated beside Terminal 2 is the Executive Flights Terminal, which has its own check-in facilities for premium passengers and where transportation to aircraft in any of the other terminals is by personal buggy.

All four terminals currently have a handling capacity of around 62 million passengers a year spread over an area of . Capacity will rise again to at least 80 million passengers a year when expansion works to Concourse 3 are complete by late 2011.

Terminals 1 and 3 cater to international passengers, whilst Terminal 2 is for budget passengers and passengers flying to the Sub-Continent and Persian Gulf region; Terminals 1 and 3 handle 90% of the travellers; and the Executive Flights terminal are for the higher end travellers and important guests.

Terminal 1

Aircraft parked at Terminal 1 - Concourse 1
Terminal 1 has an overall capacity of 30 million passengers. It is used by 75 airlines and is connected to Concourse 1, the so-called, long Sheikh Rashid Terminal by an underground, long tunnel.

Terminal 1 offers 221 check in counters, with a separate section for first and business class passengers.

In arrivals there are 40 passport control desks and 14 baggage claim belts.

The Terminal was originally built to handle 21 million passengers, however with the extreme over congestion at the terminal, the airport was forced to expand the terminal to 30 million with the opening of 28 remote gates, 9 million. Over the years, more mobile gates were added to the airport.

Concourse 1
Interior of Concourse 1
Concourse 1, part of Terminal 1, was opened in 2000 and it used to be the main concourse at Dubai International before Concourse 2 in Terminal 3 opened. It incorporates over 60 gates, including 32 air bridges and 28 remote gates located at a lower level of the terminal. The gates are labelled 101 - 160 in Terminal 1.

The concourse includes over 25 food and beverage cafes and restaurants. The Food Court is located on the Departures Level including McDonalds, Round Table Pizza, Le Matin Francais, Bistro (Lebanese), Jashan (Indian) and Tansu Kitchen (Chinese and Mongolian barbecue).The concourse also includes of retail space operated by Dubai Duty Free. 5 transfer desks are available for passengers in transit, and another desk at the Arrival remote gate. Also located in the concourse is a 78 deluxe 5 star hotel with 6 junior suites and 2 royal suites, a business centre, a health club, a duty-free shopping facility. Other facilities include prayer rooms, and a medical centre.Emirates continues to maintain a presence in Concourse 1, operating 12 gates there as well as the Emirates first Class and Business Class Lounges at the Terminal. Other airline lounges include the Gulf Air, British Airways, KLM and the Star Alliance have their own dedicated lounges.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 was built in 1998 and has a capacity of 5 million as of 2009, after several, decent reconstructions. It is mainly used by smaller airlines operating in the Persian Gulf region. Most flights operate to Iran, Pakistanmarker, and Afghanistanmarker. The terminal was also being expanded as in recent years it has become extremely congested and overcrowded, used by approximately 26 airlines and offering 36 check in counters.

In June 2009, Terminal 2 became the hub of Flydubai.

Terminal 2 has undergone a major refurbishment recently, extending check-in and boarding facilities, changing the interior and exterior décor and offering more dining choices to passengers. Capacity was increased to 5 million, 2 million.The terminal has now increased the number of facilities available to passengers. Check-in counters have increased to 36.The boarding area has been transformed into a more spacious seating area, with more natural light. Also the new open boarding gates allow several flights to board simultaneously, considerably improving both passenger and aircraft movements.

The Dubai duty-free shopping area covers in departures and in arrivals. The extension included a larger arrivals hall as well.

Terminal 3

Entrance to Terminal 3
Departures in Terminal 3
Arrival halls
Baggage claim area in Terminal 3
Terminal 3 was built at a cost of US$4.5 billion, exclusively for Emirates and will have a capacity of 43 million passengers once fully complete. The terminal will have 5 Airbus A380 gates at Concourse 2, and will have 18 at Concourse 3.

Terminal 3 is the largest building in the world by floor space, with over of space, currently capable of handling 27 million passengers in a year. Once fully operational, Terminal 3 will have an annual capacity of 43 million passengers. A large part is located under the taxiway area and is directly connected to Concourse 2: the departure and arrival halls in the new structure are beneath the airport's apron. It is operational since 14 October, 2008, opened in four phases to avoid collapse of baggage handling and other IT systems.

Inside Terminal 3, there are 82 moving walkways, 97 escalators, eight skytrains (4 each at Arrivals and Departures), 157 elevators, and 27 truck lifts.

The building includes a multi level underground structure, first and business class lounges, restaurants, 180 check-in counters and 2,600 car-parking spaces. The terminal offers more than double the previous retail area of concourse 1, by adding about and Concourse 2's of shopping facilities.

The baggage handling system - largest system and also the deepest in the world - has a capacity to handle 8,000 bags per hour. The system includes 21 screening injection points, 49 make-up carousals, 90 km of conveyor belts capable of handling 15,000 items per hour at a speed of 27kmh, and 4,500 early baggage storage positions.

In departures there are 126 check-in counters for economy class passengers, and 36 for first and business class passengers. Also, there are 18 self service kiosks, 3 lounges for unaccompanied minors, and 38 counters and 12 e-gates for Economy class passengers and 10 counters and 4 e-gates for First & Business class at immigration.

In arrivals, the terminal contains 52 immigration counters, 14 baggage carousels, and 12 e-gates (Electronic Passport Control System) used at all entry point into the United Arab Emirates. There is also 4 baggage carousels for oversized luggage.

The total amount of retail areas is operated by Dubai Duty Free. 3 Dubai Duty Free public shops including a pharmacy, and the food court has a total area of ; There are 10 food outlets including: Costa, Burger King, Rupee Room, Delizie, Mashawi Lebanese Grill, Japengo, Coffee Bean and Second Cup.

The car park includes 1,870 car spaces, 163 car rental spaces, 44 Emirates bus spaces, a check-in hall for baggage with an area of , a mosque with an area and 18 check-in counters. The entire car park has a total area of .

Concourse 2
Terminal 3 - Concourse 2
Concourse 2 - Terminal 3
Concourse 2 is directly connected to terminal 3, and is a long concourse that is dedicated exclusively to Emirates. The total built up area of the concourse itself is . The concourse is long, wide (at mid point) and high. The terminal has 10 floors (4 basement, Ground Floor, and 5 above floors). The building currently includes a multi-level structure for departures and arrivals and includes 26 gates, labelled 201 - 228 which include 59 passenger loading bridges.It also includes 14 remote stands for Airbus A340 and Boeing 777 aircraft only. The remote gates have 5 boarding lounges. For transit passengers the concourse has 3 transfer areas, and 62 transfer desks.

The concourse also includes the Emirates first and Business class longes and the Marhaba lounge. The First class lounge has a capacity of 800 passengers and a total area of . The business class lounge has a capacity of 1200 passengers, and a total area of . The Marhaba lounge, the samllest lounge at the concourse has a capacity of 140 passengers at a time.

The total retail area at the concourse is completely operated by Dubai Duty Free, and the food court includes 16 restaurants including Burger King, Starbucks, pauls Coffee Shop, Cosi, Wine Shop, Segafredo, Good to Go, Pulp Juice Bar, Costa, McDonald's, and Haagen Dazs.There is also 2 hotels in the concourse. A 193 room and 14 suite 4 star hotel, and a 38 room and 8 suite 5 star hotel.

There is a direct connection to Sheikh Rashid Terminal (Concourse 1) located at the control tower structure through passenger walkways. There is also a 300-room hotel and health club including both five and four star rooms. Concourse 2 includes five aerobridges that are capable of handling the new Airbus A380.Emirates Airline continues to maintain a presence in Concourse 1, operaring 12 gates at the concourse as well as the Emirates First Class and Business Class Lounges.

Concourse 3 underconstruction in July 2009.
The Concourse is set to open in late 2011

Concourse 3
Concourse 3 will be connected to the two major public levels of Terminal 3 via an automated people mover (APM) in addition to the vehicular and baggage handling system utility tunnels for further transfer. The building, which follows the characteristic shape of Concourse 2, will be long, wide and high in the centre from the apron level, and will accommodate 20 aircraft stands, in which 18 will be exclusively for the Airbus A380-800, and 2 for the Boeing 777.

The concourse will include one 4 star hotel and one 5 star hotel, first and business class lounges, and duty-free areas. The total built-up area will be .Construction began in early 2008, and is expected to be completed by late 2011, handling an additional 15 million passengers a year bringing the total terminals capcity to 43 million, and the entire airport's to over 80 million passengers annually.

Terminal 4

Planning has begun to bring on Terminal 4 at Dubai International Airport, it was revealed on the day Emirates completed its phased operations at the new Terminal 3, on 14 November 2008.

According to Dubai Airport officials plans for Terminal 4 had begun and extensions would be made to Terminal 3.The CEO of the airport, Paul Griffiths was reported to have said, that the airport currently have 290 million dirhams that will be spent over the next two years on terminals 1, 2 and 3, making sure they are running to full capacity. The airport is planning to service 70–80 million passengers a year by 2013.

VIP Pavilion

The VIP pavilion, was exclusively built for the Dubai Royal Air Wing and opened in 2005. The entire facility is 17,000m2 terminal, and includes a Royal Majlis, and an antenna farm. It also includes 8 aircraft hangars with a total built up area if 69,598m2 and maintenance hangars for Boeing 747, and A380 aircraft and a 1200m2 gatehouse for VIP service.

EFC Terminal

Terminal 3 increased capacity at the airport to 60 million passengers a year
The Excutive flights Terminal opened on November 19 2008, and caters to all famous figures to sport stars, businessmen, as well as large corporate entities.The terminal is located close to Terminal 2, includes a 5,500-square-metre two-storey main building, a 3,700-square-metre hangar, a 3,700-square metre ramp area for aircraft parking, and a special VIP car park for long term parking. The new facility makes EFC the largest dedicated business aviation terminal in the Middle East.

The terminal also has its own dedicated immigration and customs areas, a Dubai Duty Free outlet, a fully equipped business/conference centre, eight luxury private lounges, and a limousine service between the aircraft and the terminal. Passengers arriving into the Terminal can also book for dedicated VIP car.

Cargo Mega Terminal

The cargo village at Dubai International Airport is one of the world's largest and most central cargo hubs, with most of the cargo for Asia and Africa coming through the facility. Forecasts in 2004 for cargo growth predicted that additional major cargo handling facilities were needed to satisfy demands. Plans were put in progress to construct the first stage of the cargo mega terminal, which by 2018 will have the ability to handle three million tons of freight.Phase 1 of the cargo mega terminal was completed by 2004 and the next phase of expansion was scheduled for completion in late 2007. Prsently the airport hasa a cargo capacity of 2.1 million tonnes, and will be expanded to handle 3 million.

Flower Centre

Aircraft taxiing to runway 12L/30R
Dubai airport believed it was necessary for the construction of a flower centre to handle flower imports and exports, as Dubai is a major hub for the import and export of flowers and the airport required a specialist facility since these products need special conditions. The flower centre's first phase was completed in 2004 at a cost of $50 million.

The flower centre is not yet finished and construction will continue in another two phases. The centre will offer an enhanced level of automation over a five to seven year period for processing flower products. It will begin with a semi-automated system with manual sorting before eventually becoming fully automated.

The centre when completed and functioning will have a floor area of approximately 100,000m² including different export chambers and offices. The handling capacity of the centre is expected to be more than 300,000 tonnes of product throughput per annum. The entire facility (with the exception of the offices) will be maintained at an ambient temperature of just 2°C to 4°C.


Aerial shot of the airport showing runway, taxiway and terminal layout
Dubai Airport has two parallel runways, both 4000m long. Runways, 12R/30L and 12L/30R, each wide. The runways are equipped with four sets of ILS to guide landing aircraft safely under very poor weather conditions. The runways were recently expanded to accommodate the Airbus A380.In 2009, it was announced that the airport installed a Category III landing system, allowing planes to land in low visibility conditions, such as fog. This system will be the first of its kind in the United Arab Emiratesmarker.

Due to increasing traffic, several runway expansions are planned,The further expansion and the construction of Concourse 3 should increase this capacity to over 75 million passengers annually.Taxiways were also strengthened as part of the phase 2 development. Although most think this is unnecessary. In addition, work on other taxiways in the area was expanded in order to complete the work associated with the newly commissioned second runway.

Accommodating the Airbus A380

Dubai International will have 25 A380 capable gates by 2012, meaning they will be able to handle 25 A380's simultaneously - the largest A380 capable airport in the world
With Dubai-based Emirates Airline being one of the launch customers for the Airbus A380 and also the largest customer, Dubai airport needed to expand its existing facilities to accommodate the very large aircraft. The Department of Civil Aviation spent $120 million in upgrading the two of its terminals and airport infrastructure, including enlarged gate holdrooms, new finger piers, enlarged runway, new airbridges and extended baggage belt carousels from the normal .

Dubai airport is also investing $3.5 billion into a new Concourse 3, exclusively for handling Emirates Airline A380's. This is expected to be completed by late 2012.

With these new carousels in place, the airport does not expect embarking and disembarking passengers and baggage from the A380 to take longer than it does for Boeing 747-400s, which carry significantly fewer passengers. On 16 July 2008, Dubai Airport unveiled the first of 2 specially-built gates capable of handling the giant aircraft. Costing $10 million, the gates or 'fingers' enable passengers to get on the upper cabin of the new 555-seater aircraft directly from the gate hold rooms. The hold rooms themselves have been enlarged and appointed to cater for the larger number of passengers flying the A380s. Beside the 2 new gates at Terminal 1, 5 more A380-capable gates were opened at concourse 3 on 14 October 2008.


Passenger services

The airport has over of space spread between its three main terminals for shopping and eating outlets, with Terminal 3 having the largest amount of retail space at 28,278 m2. The Dubai duty-free shopping area in Terminal 2 covers 1,400 m2 (15,000 sq ft) in departures and 50 m2 (540 sq ft) in arrivals. The 3,437 m2 (37,000 sq ft) extension included a larger arrivals hall as well.

Extensive upgrading work on existing retail areas since 2004 in Terminals 1 and 2 has increased sales. Dubai Duty Free announced annual sales of Dhs3.95 billion (US$1.1 billion) in 2008, representing a 23 per cent increase on the previous year.2008 saw the operation doubling its retail space from 7,000 square metres to 15,000 square metres with the inauguration of the new Emirates Terminal 3 in October 2008. The Duty Free outstrips other shopping malls in Dubaimarker. Liquor and perfumes are particularly popular, accounting for over half of total retail sales, followed by watches and tobacco products. The airport enjoys "one of the highest concession revenues per passenger in the world" compared to other major international airports. Dubai Duty Free recorded more than 21 million transactions in 2008. As of August 2009, Dubai Duty Free was the biggest single airport retail operation in the world ahead of London Heathrowmarker and Seoul Incheonmarker airports. According to Generation Research, Dubai Duty Free accounts for 5% of the airport duty-free business and 3% of the wider duty-free and travel-retail global business.

In addition to a wide array of duty-free shops and eating outlets, Dubai Airport has two open-air garden areas. Dubai Airport has numerous business centres located around the airport. Within the international transit area of the interconnected Terminals 1 and 2, internet and games facilities, prayer rooms, showers, spas, gym, swimming pool and a 3 hotels are provided. Various lounge areas are provided, some including children's play areas or televisions showing news, movie and sport channels.

Emirates Flight Catering
Emirates Aircraft Hangars

Aviation services

Ground handling

Ground handling services at Dubai International Airport has been provided by Dnata Ground Handling Services.Services include cargo ramp and technical support services to airlines at Dubai Airport.

Aircraft maintenance

Emirates Engineering, based in Dubai, operates the aircraft maintenance and engine test cell technical facilities at the airport. Emirates Engineering currently provides full support for the Emirates Airline fleet and all the other international operations at the airport.

Current facilities include:
  • Seven aircraft hangars all capable of handling the A380 (currently the largest aircraft hangar in the world)
  • Aircraft painting hangar
  • Aircraft processing plant
  • Aircraft engine run-up facility enclosure
  • Engineering Line Maintenance facility
  • Engine Test Cell
  • Aircraft spare parts stores

Safety and security

Airport Security
E-gate counters, at Passport Control.
The new system was introduced to make access into the UAE easier.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Dubai manages the overall safety and security of the airport. Pre-screening takes place in all terminals at the entrance of the airport.

In 2005, an upgrade in screening technology and rising security concerns led to luggage-screening processes being conducted behind closed doors, as opposed to them being done just before check-in previously within public view. Carry-on luggage and personal screening are conducted at the individual departure gates, while check-in luggage are screened in the backrooms and secured before loading. Dubai Airport Police plans to introduce a biometric identification system for access into restricted areas.

In view of the 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot, security screening checks have been stepped up on passengers and their hand-carry luggage, as well as checked-in luggage on flights bound for destinations in the United Kingdom and the United States from Dubai.

In early 2007, Dubai Airport introduced a new type of airport screening device which not only detected weapons, but also could screen the passenger for drugs in the blood. With the new system in place, travellers entering Dubai can be jailed for 4 years or more if found in possession (including in the bloodstream and the bottom of the shoes) of illegal drugs (even in quantities as small as 0.001g), including poppy seeds from bagels and prescription and over-the-counter medicines such as codeine. A senior Dubai judge was quoted on February 11, 2008, by the Dubai City News saying, "These laws help discourage anyone from carrying or using drugs. Even if the amount of illegal drugs found on someone is 0.05 grams, they will be found guilty. The penalty is a minimum four years. The message is clear — drugs will not be tolerated." A number of travellers have been held pending charge while Dubai authorities test their possessions, blood and urine for any trace of contraband.


Passenger operations

Dubai Duty Free in Terminal 3
As all passenger traffic out of the airport is international in nature, the three major terminals in operation are equipped with immigration-processing facilities for international travel.Since there are international flights operating out from the airport, the terminals of the airport are equipped with immigration processing facilities and security scanning for all passengers including domestic, and regional passengers. Terminals 1, and 3 handle 95% of the international flights, whilst Terminal 2 mainly caters to regional flights and international flights routed to other airports in Iran and Saudi Arabia. Emirates Airlines operate from only Terminal 3. Conversely, low cost carries such as flydubai operate flights out of terminal 2.

Passenger growth at the airport has been growing at an average rate of 18%. The airport successfully reached its capacity of 33 million passengers per annum by 2007, however this was still not enough to handle the growing over congestion at the airport. As 2009 the airport's capacity reached 62 million with the opening of Terminal 3 and expansion of Terminal 2.

In 2009 Dubai International Airport's passenger movements, growth in traffic significally increased, hitting the 37 million passenger mark in 2008.In the first nine months of 2009, the airport saw a growth of 7.9% in in passenger traffic to 30,068,739 passengers from January to September, compared with 27,852,332 in the same period of 2008.The airport recorded an increase of 19.5 per cent in passenger traffic in September, the highest monthly growth rate since October 2007 when passenger numbers jumped 25.9 per cent. It is also the fourth consecutive month of double-digit passenger traffic growth in 2009. With an average monthly throughput of 3.2 million passengers so far this year, and expectations of a sustained growth in traffic during the fourth quarter, Dubai International is on track to break the 40 million passenger mark projected for 2009.

Dubai Airport remains the only airport among the top 10 airports worldwide in terms of international passenger to show positive growth in every quarter this year.

Busiest International Routes from Dubai (2009)
Rank Destination Weekly Flights out of Dubai
1 Bahrainmarker 184
2 Tehran-Imam Khomeinimarker 174
3 Kuwaitmarker 165
4 Mumbaimarker 140
5 Muscatmarker 132
6 London-Heathrowmarker 96
7 Karachimarker 91
8 Ammanmarker 79


Fueled by high economic growth from Emirates, the airport handled 1,824,991 tonnes of air cargo in 2008, an increase of 9.4% over the 2007 fiscal year, making it the 11th-busiest airfreight hub in the world and the busiest in the Middle East.

The total freight handled between January and September in 2009 reached 1,366,880 tonnes compared to 1,361,358 tonnes in 2008, a marginal increase of 0.4 per cent.

Terminals, airlines and destinations

Freight Terminal

VIP Pavillion

Ground transportation


The airport is connected by the road D 89. One of the longest intra-city roads, D 89 begins at the Deira Corniche and runs perpendicular to D 85 (Baniyas Road). From Deira, the road progresses south-eastward towards Dubai International Airport, intersecting with E 311 (Emirates Road) past the airport.


The airport is served by the Dubai Metro, which will operate 2 lines through the airport. The Red Line has a station at Terminal 3, and a station under construction at Terminal 1. The metro provides services between 5 a.m. and 12.30 after midnight. The stations are located in front of both terminals, and can be accessed directly from the arrivals areas.The Green Line will operate from March, 2010, at another station in the Airport Free Zone.


Arrivals in Terminal 3
Dubai Buses run by the RTA run a number of routes to around the city but mainly Deira, available at the Airport Ground Transportation Center and the Arrivals.

Bus stations are situated opposite both Terminal 1, 2, and 3. Local buses 4, 11, 15, 33 and 44 can be used to connect with Terminal 1 and 3, while bus 2 connects with Terminal 2. Dubai International Airport Buses provide air-conditioned transport into the city centre and over 80 hotels in the city.

Coach service is available to major cities and towns is also available to Abu Dhabimarker, Al Ainmarker, and Sharjahmarker.

Service Destination Notes
RTA Buses
4 Al Rashidiyamarker Bus Station
33 Al Qusaismarker Industrial Station
34 Al Rashidiyamarker Bus Station
44 Al Gubaiba Bus Station
48 Al Rashidiyamarker Bus Station
64 Ras Al Khormarker Terminus
401 Deira Terminus
402 Al Karamamarker Terminus
11A Awir Terminus
11C CWC Terminus
32C Satwamarker Bus Station
11M Khawaneej
0C1 Gold Souk Terminal Station
C8 Zabeel
C26 Safa Parkmarker
N1 Gardens
X28 Jebel Alimarker Termnus
X35 Meadows

Service Destination Notes
Long-distance services
Transport Company Bus Abu Dhabimarker
Transport Company Bus Al Ainmarker
Transport Company Bus Sharjahmarker


The airport is served by the Government owned Dubai Taxi Agency, which provides 24 hour service at the arrivals in every terminal.

Accidents and incidents

  • In November 1974, British Airways Flight 870, a Vickers VC10, from Dubai to Heathrowmarker, was hijacked in Dubai, landing at Tripolimarker for refuelling before flying on to Tunismarker. One hostage was murdered before the hijackers eventually surrendered after 84 hours. Captain Jim Futcher was awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal, the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators Founders Medal, the British Air Line Pilots Association Gold Medal and a Certificate of Commendation from British Airways for his actions during the hijacking, having returned to the aircraft to fly it knowing the hijackers were on board.
  • On 3 July 1988, Iran Air Flight 655marker, which was on a Tehranmarker-Bandar Abbasmarker-Dubai route, was shot down by USS Vincennes between Bandar Abbas and Dubai. 290 people were killed in this incident.
  • On 28 July 2001, a man named Djamel Beghal was arrested at Dubai International Airport while transferring from a flight from Pakistan to a flight to Europe. Beghal admitted to UAE interrogators that he was part of the Paris embassy attack plot. The Al-Qaeda suspect was taken to Francemarker, where he recanted parts of his statement. The plot was dismantled by French, Belgianmarker, and Dutchmarker authorities.
  • Part of the airport's Terminal 3 collapsed on 28 September 2004 during the construction phase.
  • On 12 March 2007, the nose gear of Biman Bangladesh Airlines Flight BG006 (LHR-DXB-DAC), an Airbus A310-300, collapsed while the aircraft was accelerating down the runway. The plane was carrying 236 passengers and crew. Fourteen people suffered minor injuries in the accident. The aircraft came to rest at the end of the runway and was evacuated, but the accident crippled the only active runway and forced the airport to close for eight hours, affecting 71 flights.

See also


  1. Costain: Did you know? - item 27
  2. Official website on Airport History visited 4 August 2008
  3. Dubai Airport Terminal 3 launch date likely to be decided in August
  4. Concourse 3 to be completed by 2011
  5. New projects
  6. Dubai’s flying buttresses
  7. Dubai airport passengers top 37m
  8. Airports & Flights: Dubai Intl. Airport (DXB/OMDB)
  9. UAE: DUBAI AIRPORT TARGETS 25 MILLION PASSENGERS BY YEAR END. - IPR Strategic Business Information Database. (2005-10-16). Retrieved on 2009-07-16.
  11. Dubai International Airport | dubai airport | intl airport dubai | airport dubai | airport uae. Retrieved on 2009-07-16.
  12. Dubai International Airport (DXB/OMDB). Airport Technology. Retrieved on 2009-07-16.
  13. Dubai International Airport. Retrieved on 2009-07-16.
  14. The apron area around the new concourse 2 was upgraded in a project completed in 2003; this new strengthened area provides for 27 wide-bodied aircraft stands. - Image - Dubai International Airport (DXB/OMDB). Retrieved on 2009-07-16.
  15. Dubai flower hub could be a thorn for the Dutch. (21-OCT-05) Asia Africa Intelligence Wire. (2005-10-21). Retrieved on 2009-07-16.
  17. Dubai Airport Terminal 3 launch date likely to be decided in August. Gulfnews (2008-07-22). Retrieved on 2009-07-16.
  18. Gulfnews: Aiming for 3m tonnes by 2018. (2008-05-19). Retrieved on 2009-07-16.
  19. Emirates Engineering. The Emirates Group. Retrieved on 2009-07-16.
  20. Emirates Flight Catering. The Emirates Group. Retrieved on 2009-07-16.
  21. Dubai Airports launches new facility for Executive Flights Centre | Dubai Airports. (2007-02-26). Retrieved on 2009-07-16.
  22. Dubai Airport Dubai's Terminal 2 gets makeover. Gulfnews. Retrieved on 2009-07-16.
  23. Dubai Airport
  24. flydubai to fly from Terminal 2
  25. The $ 4.5 billion expansion nears completion
  26. Dubai Airport’s Terminal 3 is immense and awesome
  27. Dubai Airports' CEO, Paul Griffiths, takes us on a tour of the new terminal at the world's fastest growing airport.
  28. eGate Card for Dubai & Abu Dhabi
  30. Dubai plans Terminal 4
  31. Dubai Airports launches new facility for Executive Flights Centre
  35. Dubai airport guide - security
  36. Daily Mail: Briton jailed for four years in Dubai after customs find cannabis weighing less than a grain of sugar under his shoe
  37. flydubai reveals Terminal 2 launch
  42. Flight International 20-26 March 2007

External links

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