First look at Dubai's new A380 concourse
Dubai International Airport is putting the final touches to Concourse A, the world’s first airport concourse built solely to service Airbus A380s.
More than 1,100 Dubai residents -- including children, seniors and those with special needs -- were invited to test the new facility last weekend.
The local volunteers acted as passengers arriving at, departing from and transiting through Concourse A, testing everything from directional signage to the airport train that connects the concourse to Terminal 3.
Many of the new retail and food and beverage outlets also opened for the tests.
“Prior to opening it is imperative that we are diligent in testing every aspect of the passenger experience across the new facility,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, in a statement.
“The trial has yielded some very valuable insight, which we will be analyzing and acting on in the days and weeks ahead.”
The findings of the trial will be used to adjust any outstanding issues relating to processes, systems and facilities. Concourse A will be tested again, says Dubai Airports, adding that they don't have a firm opening date yet.
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What makes Concourse A so special?
The 528,000 square meter Concourse A is part of the Terminal 3 complex, aimed at boosting Dubai International’s annual passenger capacity from 60 million to 75 million when it opens in early 2013.
Build for the exclusive use of Emirates Airlines at a cost of AED12 billion (US$3.2 billion), it will have 20 aircraft contact gates, all capable of accommodating the A380, plus 13 remote stands. A380 flights to Europe operated by Qantas, which recently signed a partnership agreement with Emirates, will reportedly have access to the terminal as well.
The facility was designed to make boarding faster and more efficient -- a good idea when you're dealing with the world's largest passenger jet, which can seat more than 500 passengers.
Concourse A will also have the biggest business class lounge in the world, says Emirates, and a first class lounge equipped with its own cigar bar and Duty Free shopping area. Passengers in both lounges will have direct access to the aircraft when it comes time to board their flight.
Restaurants in the A380 hub include the Giraffe café, Paul and Carluccios, Shake Shack and Costa Metropolitan; for pre-flight bubbly there's the Moet & Chandon Champagne Bar. It will also have a dedicated hotel floor with 170-room four-star and 32-room five-star accommodation.
Emirates has more A380s than any other airline, recently picking up its 29th superjumbo at the Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France.
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