Dubai Airports set records for highest traffic during DSF Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI: Dubai Airports has broken all records in handling passengers with the opening of the 20th edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) this week.

A Dubai Airports spokesperson told XPRESS: “DXB (Terminals 1, 2 and 3) welcomed a record 650,000 passengers between January 2 and 4, up from the previous record of 638,000 between December 18-20.”

But despite the record load, it was smooth sailing. “We put on additional staff from the curb to the boarding gates. The busiest weekend in DXB’s history was managed well thanks to a lot of meticulous planning and preparations and close coordination between Dubai Airports and all stakeholders including Emirates and all other airlines, dnata, Dubai Police, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, and Dubai Customs, amongst others.”

He said Terminal 1 alone, which is undergoing a refurbishment, handled 97,000 passengers with every effort taken to minimise the passengers’ wait time. “The duration varied based on the time of the day; it averaged about 30 minutes for immigration and 15 minutes for security, while during off-peak time it is a matter of a few minutes. Over the past year DNRD has implemented smart gates and taken on additional staff to help improve flow. At security, we have installed over 100 new automatic tray return scanning machines that have almost halved our transaction time. Unfortunately during the New Year seasonal rush, we faced immigration system limitations as a result of the exceptional loads.”

He said Concourse D, when completed, would create a more efficient customer experience which shortens the passenger journey. “The facility will be linked to a refurbished Terminal 1 via an elevated rail link. Construction is well advanced, paving the way for the full launch of a trial and testing programme to ensuring that every system and process is ready for the opening towards the middle of this year. Basic trials began late in 2014 and will grow in complexity and scope, culminating in a full passenger trial in the second quarter.”

“At the same time several of the open gates – a first for us at Dubai International – have also been trialled and tested. The new gates, which allow travellers to board directly from the waiting area, give them more time to enjoy the new services in the concourse before boarding.”