A view of the Dubai Airport in 1960. File
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Dubai Airports on Thursday marked the 60th anniversary of the official opening of Dubai International (DXB). The occasion celebrates a remarkable success story driven by Dubai Airports’ ‘future forward’ thinking that has seen DXB emerge as the world’s leading airport.
Since opening on Sept.30, 1960, DXB has served 1.115 billion passengers travelling on more than 7.47 million flights connecting over 240 destinations in 95 countries across the globe.
Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman, Dubai Airports said: "From the outset, DXB has been a catalyst for growth. Dubai International was born from the vision of the late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum who understood the vast potential of aviation and had the foresight to build the airport and promote an Open Skies policy.
"That vision was carried forward strongly by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who effectively positioned Dubai as a global aviation leader. DXB, which is at the centre of Dubai’s proud aviation history, is testimony to the fact that great things can be achieved through vision, forward-thinking, innovation, collaboration and hard work. Over the next half a century, we will continue to strengthen our role in connecting the world and supporting the social and economic development of Dubai.”
60 years of achievement
DXB’s history is replete with examples of forward thinking and aviation firsts. It was the first airport in the Middle East to feature a gated terminal, along with the largest Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower when Sheikh Rashid terminal opened in 2000, and the first to launch e-gates in 2002.
In 2008, it opened the largest airport terminal in the world (Terminal 3) and three years later the world’s first concourse purpose-built for the A380 (Concourse A).
It is home to the world’s leading international airline and duty-free retail operation. DXB became the world’s busiest international airport in 2014 and welcomed its billionth passenger in December 2018.
Preparing for the next 50 years
In line with the vision and strategy of UAE’s leaders, Dubai Airports is not resting on its laurels and is focused on furthering its progress in the next 50 years and beyond.
"Each year brings new challenges and opportunities,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports. "Today we are working our way through a crisis and our recovery is well underway. DXB now serves 51% of the destinations, in 77% of the countries, and 58% of the airlines it did pre-COVID-19. We continue to advocate for standard protocols around the world that are key to safeguarding passengers’ wellbeing and accelerating the recovery of international travel. The development of a rapid COVID-19 test on departure is one such solution.
"While we are fully focused on managing our today, we have strongly set our sights on consolidating our leadership in the future. We are constantly exploring new approaches and technologies that can help us offer even more seamless, secure and rewarding travel experiences,” added Griffiths.
Dubai Airports is actively pursuing a number of initiatives to restore consumer confidence and enhance the travel experience, including airport interior design innovations, the use of single ID biometrics to facilitate contact-less travel and an e-commerce platform that will bring added choice and convenience to travellers.
"We will continue to work with the sector to boost consumer confidence and raise DXB’s capacity as traffic grows,” continued Griffiths.
"While we can’t predict how long it will take for the industry to fully recover, I am optimistic that when the world will open up, the desire to travel will be stronger than ever. Dubai Airports and the entire aviation community here will be ready, just as we have been in the past 60 years.”
Saif Al Dhaheri, NCEMA UAE spokesperson said: Travellers to all destinations are required to register with ICA UAE prior to travelling and take COVID-19 test 48 hours before the time of departure.
“Travel to medium-risk destinations will be allowed in certain conditions and applicable to specific groups. Citizens and residents plan to travel to these countries need to meet the requirements specified by UAE government.
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