Dubai: Bigger, better, faster. As Dubai International Airport (DXB) strives to constantly outdo itself to be the world’s very best, it’s the passengers who are the ultimate winners.
Come November, you can actually breeze through check-in, immigration and security check, right up to lounge, gate and the plane at Terminal 3, by merely showing your faces. This, as the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigner Affairs (GDRFA)-Dubai announced at a conference last week, will be thanks to the introduction of a new, single access biometric system.
Very soon, passengers can expect an end to queues at security check to remove their laptops and other electronic items, or even water bottles, as smart scanners with advanced colour coders will eliminate the need to do so. And, as the same conference promised us, smart trolleys with touch-screen displays will provide updates about flights, gate numbers and other real-time information.
DXB is the world’s busiest airport
This is no mean feat for an airport that has been named the busiest in the world by the Airports Council International for the ninth consecutive year.
As per the latest figures, DXB, which is the most connected airport in Asia Pacific and the Middle East, is linked to 257 destinations across 104 countries through more than 91 international airlines. During the first half of 2023, the airport welcomed 41.6 million guests and catered to 201,800 flights. Approximately, 37.2 million bags were handled, with 92 per cent of all baggage delivered within 45 minutes to customers.
But for DXB, it’s not just about the numbers, the passenger experience is what matters. As Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports, said, “Our focus remains on continuing to work on keeping DXB on top of the list of the busiest hubs, but also having it acknowledged by travellers globally as delivering the best airport experience in the world.”
“We are obviously quite thrilled to top the list of the world’s busiest international airports for the ninth consecutive year. Our focus remains on continuing to work on keeping DXB on top of the list of the busiest hubs but also having it acknowledged by travellers globally as delivering the best airport experience in the world.”
Much of this has been made possible because of the huge technological upgrades implemented over the years, making DXB one of the most modern airports in the world.
Before reaching the airport
The benefits can be availed well before you get to the airport. If you are on the Emirates App for instance, you can not only do things like booking a chauffeur and getting your boarding pass on the app, but also use it to see the flight menu, create your entertainment playlist and track your baggage from check in through to your destination.
Even otherwise, passengers can conveniently reach the airport through Dubai Metro which is directly connected to Terminal 1 and 3, an RTA bus or an airport taxi, and visit the DXB website for any ready assistance.
Car park users also have a new mobile payment option – Scan, Pay and Go – that allows them to simply scan the QR code on their parking entry ticket to be directed to the payment gateway.
Inside the airport
Once inside the airport, at check-in, Emirates passengers can use their phones to operate the self check-in kiosks and travel hands-free to their flight. While check-ins at Terminal 3 will soon become a fully biometric process, smart gates in the immigration area already demonstrate how passport control has turned into a hassle-free, contactless affair. All you have to do is look at a green light, with no need to scan your passport or boarding pass, and within seconds, clear your immigration process.
There are currently 120 smart gates at DXB, with 36 per cent of passengers passing through them during the first half of 2023.
At security check, the standard X-rays will soon make way for new X-rays, whose colour coding will automatically differentiate between harmless (green) and dangerous (red) items. They will vastly reduce false alarms and the time spent at the queues as they will do away with the need for passengers to offload electronic items and liquids.
Once security check is cleared, Dubai Duty Free, a shopping destination by itself, beckons. Passengers can also avail the privilege of making pre-orders and pick up the stuff from the Webshop before a flight. You can opt to collect the items upon your return at Arrivals too.
Passengers can easily navigate through the massive DDF area with the help of DXB’s way-finding technologies. This service includes integrated information zones and sleek new maps of the airport on 40 inch LCD touch screens, which provide real-time and easy-to-understand directions to boarding gates, restaurants and other facilities.
While Terminal 3 consists of three concourses (A-Gates, B-Gates and C-Gates), Terminal 1 Concourse D (D-Gates) and Terminal 2 (F Gates) also provide seamless access to regional and international flights. Reaching the gates is also tech-enabled. While Terminal 1’s D-Gates are reachable via an airport train, Terminal 3 passengers can walk between B-Gates and C-Gates and take a short airport train to A-Gates. Escalators, travellators and lifts are also available at all possible locations, making the passage through the massive airport effortless.
Real time monitoring
Making the passenger journey as seamless as possible is an entire team of officials working behind the scenes at Dubai Airport’s state-of-the-art Airport Operations Control Centre (AOCC). It accommodates not just the airport staff, but also representatives from DXB, Emirates, dnata, Dubai Police, Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services, Dubai Customs and GDRFA-Dubai, among others.
Central to the AOCC is realtimeDXB, a cloud-powered platform that monitors the entire gamut of airport operations in real time. Capable of visualising traffic flows, as well as compiling data generated by dozens of operational systems, it allows the teams access to airport data in real time, get live updates about current scenarios or congestion points, deploy additional resources and ensure a swift response to any disruptions.
The platform also predicts how situations may evolve over time and helps the team prevent possible congestion and disruption. It goes without saying that it’s the operational efficiency of the team’s highly skilled personnel who make the most of the advanced technologies to ensure that DXB stays ahead of the game.