Airbus A380 concourse opens at Dubai International Airport
A new concourse dedicated to the Airbus A380 jumbo jet is now operational at Dubai International Airport.Known as Concourse A, the purpose-built facility cost $3 million (£1.8 million) to build and will be opened in phases.Dubai Airports, owner of Dubai International, said four of the concourse's 20 aircraft gates will be used from today (January 2nd). Once fully operational, the facility is expected to increase the airport's annual passenger capacity from 60 million to 75 million people.Chief executive of Dubai Airport Paul Griffiths said: "We are opening Concourse A in stages with more gates coming online in each successive phase."We believe that this approach of gradual transition will enable us and all our partners to ensure smooth operations and help us to deliver on our customer service commitment."A service to London Heathrow became the first flight to leave the new concourse today.Concourse A is situated within the Terminal 3 complex and will be used exclusively by the Emirates airline, which currently operates a fleet of 31 Airbus A380s and has another 59 on order.The construction of the facility forms part of the airport's $7.8 billion Strategic Plan 2020.In a signal of its rapid growth, Dubai International recently announced that its total passenger traffic for 2012 is expected to surpass targets.Traffic for November 2012 reached 4.87 million people, up ten per cent on the corresponding month in 2011. Mr Griffiths said the airport would comfortably exceed its annual target of 56.5 million passengers and expects to serve approximately 66 million people in 2013.Therefore, the launch for Concourse A will provide "much needed capacity", the chief executive commented.The hub is now the world's fourth busiest airport in terms of international passengers.