Dubai: Emirates threw open the doors of its new Emirates Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport to its passengers, in a phased operation that commenced earlier on Tuesday.Video: Hit the travelator with GNTV
The first Emirates flight EK843 Dubai-Doha, an Airbus A330-200 with 136 passengers, four in First, 27 in Business and 105 in Economy Class was flagged off from Gate 213, on time at 2.15 pm.
The new terminal opened with staff from Emirates Airport Services and Dnata manning every operation and service, including concierge and porter services, check-in and information counters, and all the lounges - Unaccompanied Minors, Special Services, Customer Services, Marhaba, First and Business Class - in the terminal and concourse.
Passengers effortlessly used both the traditional check-in counters and the Self Service Kiosks dotting the terminal. The baggage system at check-in, including the kiosks that handle luggage, functioned equally smoothly.
Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group said: "Today our customers tasted the fruit of years of planning, investments and commitment. While we were quite confident of the robust systems and facilities, today was still a day of reckoning and we are delighted that our operations worked as planned. My warmest congratulations to all the stakeholders involved with Emirates Terminal 3, and particularly to the staff of the Emirates Group for their unflagging dedication and teamwork."
Jamal Nasser Lootah, Executive Director for Industrial Affairs at the UAE Ministry of Economy and a Skywards Gold member was the first passenger to check in at First Class in the new terminal. He was presented with a commemorative certificate by Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, and flowers by an Emirates cabin crew member.
Khalida Mirza, Vice Manager of A1 Properties, also a Skywards Gold member and the first passenger at Business Class check-in said: "I always prefer to fly Emirates. It has the best aircraft and the best service. It was a dream to travel from the new terminal and therefore I am here early to check-in."
Tamatsu Tamaro was the first passenger at Economy Class check-in and he enjoyed complimentary access and facilities at the well-appointed Marhaba Lounge. He said: "The facility is really big and spacious - I'm surprised and very impressed. The Marhaba service is excellent. I am happy to be Emirates' first customer at this impressive facility."
Both passengers were welcomed with special commemorative certificates and flowers from Emirates' cabin crew members.
On day one, besides flight EK843, other flights scheduled for departure from Emirates Terminal 3 include EK845 to Doha, EK857 and EK859 to Kuwait, EK839 to Bahrain, and EK817 to Riyadh.
Emirates flight EK2926 Jeddah-Dubai was the first flight to arrive at Emirates Terminal 3 and other flights scheduled to arrive on the first day include EK844 from Doha, EK212 from Houston, EK202 from New York, EK840 from Bahrain, EK858 from Kuwait, EK262 from Sao Paulo and EK818 from Riyadh.
From Wednesday, October 15, all the flights to and from the GCC and the Americas - 40 flights a day, around 15 per cent of the airline's total services - will depart from and arrive at Emirates Terminal 3.
The second phase, to be launched shortly, will include flights to the rest of the Middle East and Africa, increasing operations to 99 flights every day, 37 per cent of all flights.
Flights to Europe will take-off in the third phase, escalating operations to 168 daily flights or 60 per cent of all Emirates' services.
The fourth and final phase will include flights to the Indian Subcontinent, East Asia and Australasia and bring the total to 269 flights every day.