Dubai International Shows Off New Facility

dubai

Dubai International Airport (DBX) has just completed the launch of Concourse A, part of a $7.8 billion expansion plan aimed to increase airport capacity to 90 million passengers by 2020. Home to Emirates airline’s Airbus A380, 20 gates have been equipped to handle the airline’s current fleet of 31 planes and with more on order, they’re going to need the space.

“With a current fleet of 31 A380s and a further 59 on order, Emirates is the largest operator of this aircraft in the world, and it is only fitting that we have a world class facility that meets this need and represents our leadership in this regard,” said Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline in a Breaking Travel News report.

Each of the A380-equipped gates, along with Emirates First and Business class lounges take up 28,000 of the 528,000-square-meter facility. The upscale lounges feature kitchens, conference rooms, business centers, a spa, entertainment areas, smoking areas and children’s play areas. First Class lounge passengers also have a duty free shopping area and a wine cellar.

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Like U.S. airports that have spent billions on expansion and updates, Dubai is looking to the future with a solid plan in place to be a bigger player in international travel.

“Concourse A is a vital element of our $7.8 billion investment in the continued expansion of Dubai International, which will see it become the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic by the end of 2015,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.

Want to see more of the new expansion? Check this short video:


[Photo Credit- Dubai Airport]

Atlanta Airport To Become A Global Portal

atlanta airportWhen the Atlanta airport’s new Concourse F international terminal opens on May 16, it will add 12 international gates and create a new entry-exit point for travelers on the opposite end of the airport from the main terminal. The new facility will address a number of current issues but the $1.5 billion addition is more geared toward future travel needs.

As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reports, the project is tasked with anticipating a new travel industry. “You can’t build something today that meets your needs for today,” said airport general manager Louis Miller. “We’re building for the future.”

When the project began in the late 1990s, initial cost estimates of a few hundred million dollars had the new Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal opening in 2006. Now six years late, the facility will eliminate the current baggage claim setup for Atlanta-bound international travelers, who must recheck their baggage before a train ride to the distant main terminal after clearing customs.

That’s a good, immediate improvement for international travelers but the additional gates will not only provide more capacity for international flights but also open space for domestic flights.

“At peak hours, we have a need for additional facilities,” Miller said. “But we’re really looking toward the future.”

Delta, the airport’s biggest airline, thinks the new concourse will operate near capacity several times a day. Spokesman Trebor Banstetter told AJC that operating flights out of the new concourse would give its top customers access to the “world-class facility” and its new Sky Club lounge.

“We want our best customers to be in this facility,” Banstetter said.

Colorado-based aviation consultant Mike Boyd believes future growth in Atlanta’s operations will continue, propelling the facility into much more than it is today.

“The reality is, if we don’t build these things, you’re going to find yourself way behind the curve,” Boyd said. “Atlanta is still going to grow … Delta is going to turn Atlanta into what we call a global portal, where there will be enormous amounts of traffic flows going all over Latin America and all over Asia.”

World's Busiest Airport Getting Busier

[Flickr photo via redlegsfan21]

Airlines Complain about Vegas Airport’s Plan

Despite seeing a decrease in the number of arrivals, construction of a new terminal will go ahead as planned at McCarran Airport Las Vegas. Though the 2 billion dollar project will not be completed until 2012, some airlines are questioning the timing of the project. It’s not secret that airlines are struggling. Arrivals are down almost 5% at McCarran since last year. A drop of as high as 15% is forecast for next year.

Southwest Airlines has been the biggest critic of the expansion. Over 30% of Las Vegas arrivals fly Southwest. But the airline has been trimming back its service to Sin City. The airport expansion will mostly be funded by an increase in the fees that airlines pay to use the airport and its gates. No one wants to hear talk of higher prices right now, especially at a bread-and-butter location like Las Vegas. After the rapid growth that the city has been experiencing, no one seems to want to look at the facts. But things are slowing down. I guess McCarran is gambling that things won’t be so slow in a couple of years.