Dubai International Airport is the Emirate’s main airport and, at the same time, the world’s first airport in terms of international passenger traffic and the third in terms of total traffic. It is located in the Al Garhoud district, just five kilometres from the city. This makes it more unique than rare, as the vast majority of such large and busy airports are often built tens of kilometres from the city.
But this will also be the future that awaits Dubai, thanks to the construction of the new Dubai World Center airport, at the southern end of the city and where, according to some estimates, as many as 160 million passengers a year will transit in the future.
But for now, this is undoubtedly the city’s airport, and it is very important for its economy: it employs about 90,000 people and brings about 25 billion euros a year to Dubai, about 27% of its gross domestic product.
At Dubai International Airport, the main airlines are Emirates (with a fleet of over 200 aircraft based there), Flydubai (a low-cost airline operating mainly short-haul flights) and Qantas (Australia’s national airline, which uses Dubai as a secondary hub and as a stopover for its flights from Australia to Europe and vice versa). But virtually all the world’s airlines fly there, making it very easy to reach Dubai.
Direct flights to Dubai are operated by Emirates and by many other European airlines (Lufthansa, Air France, Austrian, Swiss and many others), but also by several North African or Middle Eastern airlines (EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, OmanAir, Qatar Airways).
Dubai Airport is located practically in the city centre, which makes it very convenient and comfortable for departing and arriving passengers. There is a metro station at the airport, but it is also possible to reach the destination directly by taxi or hire car; there are also several buses that have their terminus at the airport.
Being at the northern end of the city, from Dubai International Airport it is very easy to reach the Deira district, but the southernmost areas such as Dubai Marina or Jumeirah are rather far away; in any case, the city’s road infrastructure is excellent and, barring sudden traffic problems, it will generally be easy to reach every part of the city.
The construction of the airport was ordered by the Sheikh of Dubai in 1959 and the facility officially opened the following year, but it only began to assume importance in the 1980s when the city started to become a stopover for some airlines such as Air India, Cathay Pacific or Singapore Airlines on their trips from the Far East to Europe: by stopping over in Dubai, they could count on cheap fuel supplies.
Today the facility has three terminals: the first, the original, was recently renovated while the second opened in 1998. Construction of Terminal 3 began in 2004 and was completed in 2008, making it the largest building in the world in terms of surface area. Since then, the Emirates company has made it its permanent home.
With the arrival of the Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft, Dubai International Airport had to adapt with some changes costing around 200 million euros, including the construction of 29 new gates capable of handling such a large aircraft.
Other major projects at the airport included the new phase of development that included the construction of Concourse 3, a facility attached to Terminal 3 that will further expand its capacity.
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