Sunday, June 02, 2013

Back to getting things done

When you fly into Dubai International Airport you can't help but think of the crass political dithering over Sydney's need for a replacement airport.

That's gone on for over forty years and shows no sign of being resolved.

Flying back into Dubai after an absence of only a few months I noticed even more improvements.

Emirates' dedicated new Terminal 3 seems to be fully operational now. It's gigantic, the largest in the world, bright and airy with plenty of space,even for the hundreds of passengers using each A380 superjumbo. The new Concourse A in fact is a purpose-built facility for the A380. The cost of T3 is put at US4.5 billion.

Compare it with Sydney, where the old cramped International terminal was adapted to take the big aircraft but not the number of passengers each one carries. So at the A380 gates, five hundred passengers are milling about in nowhere near enough space with nowhere near enough seats.

One problem with Dubai T3 was the huge distances passengers had to walk from the arrival gate to baggage/Immigration. No more, they've put a train link in - a short stroll to the station, a long ride, a short stroll to baggage collection.

They've updated the smart gates too. The old e-gate has been replaced with a new system that reads biometric passports and the e-gate card. No queueing at Immigration, I just zapped my e-gate card, gave the machine my thumbprint and it let me through, the Immigration formalities concluded as simply as that in well under one minute.

BTW, Dubai T3 is apparently the world's largest building by floor area. It's just under 120 hectares - that's why they needed the train!

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