The major trial follows a comprehensive series of preliminary exercises that were carried out at the facility in recent weeks with the participation of employees of the airport and its partners.
A collaborative effort between Dubai Airports and a number of its main partners – including Emirates airline, Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects, dnata and control authorities such as Dubai Police, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigner Affairs and Dubai Customs, among others – the trial was aimed at determining the readiness of staff, systems and processes at the new facility by simulating a typical airport operation.
Some 1,100 volunteers including men, women, children, senior citizens and individuals with special needs, played the role of passengers arriving at, departing from and transiting through Concourse A, testing way-finding signage and the flow of passenger traffic within the new building and between it and Terminal 3 via the airport train. Many of the new retail and food & beverage outlets also formed part of the trial.
“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. “The trial has yielded some very valuable insight which we will be analysing and acting on in the days and weeks ahead. I would like to thank all the volunteers who took time out on their weekend and brought their families along to lend support to the trial. They have become part of Dubai’s aviation history.”
The trial findings, which will be finalised in the days ahead, will be used to make adjustments to processes, systems or facilities, as required, which will again be tested at future operational trials.
Concourse A is part of the Terminal 3 complex which will increase Dubai International’s annual passenger capacity from 60 million to 75 million when it opens next year.
“Concourse A is another critical element of the $7.8 billion Strategic Plan 2020 which includes the expansion of Dubai International to accommodate the tremendous growth we expect over the next decade,” explained Griffiths. “Passenger numbers are forecast to reach 66-million in 2013 and the opening of Concourse A is a timely and welcome addition to Dubai International, putting us firmly on track to reach our target of becoming the world’s best and largest airport in terms of service and international passenger numbers.”