LORNE RILEY, DIRECTOR, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS, DUBAI AIRPORTS, EXPLAINS HOW THE GATEWAY TO THE WORLD RETAINS ITS GLOBAL REPUTATION AND SHARES RECENT ADVANCEMENTS REGARDING INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENTS AND PROJECTS.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: In your opinion, how important is the experience of an airport for someone who is visiting the country for the first time?
LORNE RILEY: Dubai International is one of the busiest international hubs in the world where an average of seven million passengers travelling through every month on more than 100 airlines to 240 destinations around the world.
For a significant number of those passengers, Dubai International is their only experience of Dubai as they spend a few hours here on transit.
We believe that their experience of the hub has a major influence on their idea of what Dubai would be like and as such it is very important for us.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How was passenger traffic at Dubai International in 2016 and how does this compare to 2015? Could you share some of your latest statistics for the first quarter of this year (Q1)?
LORNE RILEY: Dubai International retained its title as the world’s number one airport for international passengers after the hub’s annual traffic reached 83.6 million passengers in 2016, up 7.2 percent compared to 78,014,838 passengers in 2015.
The hub is forecast to welcome 89 million passengers this year. Traffic at Dubai International climbed 7.4 percent during Q1 to 22,496,596 compared to 20,948,690 recorded during Q1 of 2016.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are the airport’s latest advancements in regarding to existing services, infrastructure developments, programmes and awards? Are there any interesting projects that travellers can look forward to?
LORNE RILEY: [...], Dubai International caters to the most diverse base of customers and we are always looking at ways to meet and exceed their expectations while also making their journey through the hub smoother and memorable.
Our initiatives range from a steady expansion of our infrastructure to offering the widest and best range in dining, retail and relaxation.
Concourse D which opened in February 2016 is capable to serve more than 60 airlines operating at Terminal 1, and is a great example of how we deliver capacity while enhancing customer experience across the airport.
Concourse D was the final major piece of physical added at Dubai International.
We are now working on a project called Dubai International Plus which seeks to enhance service while increasing capacity to 118 million passengers at the hub by 2018.
We have a number of very exciting projects lined up as part of our preparations for the Expo 2020 Dubai exhibition, but it is too early to talk about the specifics.
These projects are aimed at delivering world-class experience for the millions of passengers that pass through the airport, creating an expo experience inside the airport which will set the tone for visitors and entice passengers to return or stop over.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Do you work alongside strategic partners to provide requested services while also meeting passengers’ needs?
LORNE RILEY: Just like any other airport, a major part of the customer experience at Dubai International from parking to check-in, security and immigration to shopping, and dining to relaxing is delivered by our stakeholders or partners with whom we work very closely to ensure the airport delivers a seamless, consistent experience.
The strength of our longstanding relationship with authorities that manage security, immigration and customs, as well as with Dubai Duty Free and Dubai’s flagship carriers, Emirates and flydubai comes from the fact that we share a common goal to make Dubai the world’s largest and best hub for aviation, tourism and business.