Dubai: A closely coordinated effort by various Dubai government departments is underway to ensure a safe and smooth travel experience for arrivals and departures at Dubai International Airport (DXB) during the Eid Al Adha rush.
International travel spikes during the Eid break every year, bringing its own challenges for passengers — and the COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded these challenges. However, Dubai authorities have been preparing for the Eid rush well in advance so that travellers can enjoy a hassle-free experience right from their homes to the airport. Visitors too are provided with smooth airport procedures from the moment they land to the moment they leave the airport, be it for a local stay or transit.
In a series of advice on social media, DXB, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Emirates airline have been guiding travellers on advice and best practices for the busy Eid season. The most common tip has been to head to the airport early to leave plenty of time for check-in well ahead of departure time.
Last month, after a 15-month suspension because of the pandemic, DXB reopened its main Terminal 1 and Concourse D to welcome back more flights and guests through the airport. DXB has been listed as the world’s busiest airport for July 2021, with more than 2.38 million passengers using the facility so far this month.
Doubling up staff
Major General Talal Al Shanqiti, Assistant Director-General for Airport Affairs at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai, told Gulf News the department is ready to handle the increasing number of passengers travelling through Dubai airports during the Eid Al Adha holiday, as part of a systematic plan to ensure smooth procedures. “We have prepared various scenarios to avoid congestion and complete the passage of travellers quickly and smoothly, while taking precautions and precautionary measures to ensure the safety of all travellers,” said Maj Gen Al Shanqiti.
The procedures include additional counters at passport control zone and an increase in the number of passport officers up to 100 per cent.
In and out in minutes
GDRFA Dubai provided all the capabilities and modern systems to provide the highest levels of security and safety, in addition to allocating a qualified and trained team to deal with these systems to complete the travellers’ procedures by checking their passports and travel documents within a few minutes. “We conduct inspection tours with our strategic partners at Dubai airports on a daily basis to follow up the transit movement of passengers through Dubai airports with all preventive and precautionary measures to curb COVID-19,” said Al Shanqiti. He called upon passengers to arrive earlier at the airports to avoid delays, in light of the high number of travellers planning to spend their vacation abroad.
Dnata (Dubai National Air Travel Agency) has 8,500 staff providing service to 85 airlines and their passengers across the three DXB terminals. During June, July and August dnata expects to handle over 6,300 flights in Dubai from around the world. This volume means the dnata teams at DXB will handle a flight every 21 minutes, on average.
DXB, in cooperation with Dubai Health Authority (and a private health care provider), has opened one of the largest in-house COVID-19 testing facilities in the world, with an on-site lab spread over 20,000 square feet that can process up to 100,000 samples per day. Samples are collected every 30 minutes for faster results, available every four to six hours, compared to the previous 24 to 48 hours. More than 4.5 million arrivals at DXB have so far been tested for COVID-19.
Expecting a large number of passenger departures, and a longer wait at check-in counters, because of COVID-19 travel checks and safety procedures, Emirates informed travellers they can check-in and drop their luggage 24 hours before the departure of their flight. Also, the airline this month resumed service to eight cities.
Take the metro
Travellers can save time, beat the traffic and avoid searching for parking by using Dubai Metro, which allows two suitcases per passenger on the train, to reach DXB (Terminal 1 and 3) anytime between 5am and 1am (of the following day). If people are instead going by car, RTA suggests they aim to arrive four hours at DXB before their flight due to the expected traffic on the roads leading to Airport Terminal 1 and 3. It also pointed out that the travel time from Rashidiya Station — where parking is free — to Terminals 1 and 3 on Dubai Metro is just five minutes and 15 seconds.