Welcome to Connect - Dubai Airports dedicated blog for fans of aviation and travel. As well as containing the latest news and features from Dubai International and Dubai World Central, Connect offers inspiration for those living in Dubai, or planning a trip to the Emirates.
Having recently bid goodbye to one year, it’s already time to ring in another.
Thankfully, we here at Time Out love an excuse for a knees up so we can’t wait for Tuesday February 5, which marks the Chinese New Year (and our first birthday, too).
Here’s how you can join in. Xīn Nián Kuài Lè!
Things to do
Chinese New Year live events If you’re travelling through in early February, keep your eyes peeled for a number of live music and dance performances. As part of musicDXB, Dubai Airports’ ongoing initiative to bring arts and music to the world’s biggest stage, there will be special entertainment throughout the airport.
Feb 3-5. Various locations including: Concourse B, Terminal 3, Concourse D, Terminal 1, & Arrivals, Terminal 1.
One of China’s biggest Dotcom companies has gone offline – opening an on-the-ground store in Arrivals, Terminal 3. Ctrip aims to deliver the same high quality customer service it is famed or in China, with around-the-clock including travel guidance, consultation, transportation, catering, shopping and more. Ctrip’s one-stop in-destination services include everything from arranging top Dubai activities and days out to booking onto trips with local tour guides.
Arrivals, Terminal 3.
Cho Gao Spend Dhs100 and get 20 percent off your total bill, plus you’ll get a voucher for 20 percent off your next visit. Traditional Zha Jiang fried noodles is the chef’s special of the month. You’ll also find rice, dim sum, spring rolls, satay and more at one of DXB’s top Asian restaurants Cho Gao, which is home to the well-known dishes you love. They include Cantonese hakao steamed shrimp dumplings, Shanghai favourite siao long pao chicken dumplings, fiery Kung Pao chicken, stir-fried Cantonese beef and Yang Chow fried rice.
Concourse A, Terminal 3.
Ordering fast food is now even, well, faster thanks to high-tech self-ordering kiosks at McDonald’s outlets. The language options have recently been expanded to include Mandarin, helping Chinese passengers order their favourite meals while skipping queues.
Concourses A & B, Terminal 3, Concourse D, Terminal 1.
The Noodle House
Make your way to The Noodle House in Concourse D, Terminal 1, and enjoy the flavours of Southeast Asia. Two new dishes have recently joined the menu, too. The misu tsukemene is a punchy miso broth with prawns, egg noodles, enoki, shiitake mushrooms and a soft boiled egg. The worldwide favourite pad Thai does not need an introduction.
Concourse D, Terminal 1.
Better connected Travelling between China and DXB has become even smoother thanks to the launch of three weekly direct flights to Shanghai with China Eastern. With 3.5 million passengers travelling between DXB and China in 2018, there are now around 100 return flights a week to 11
Chinese destinations via six airlines.
Tips for Chinese passengers
GDFRA is dedicating two lanes specifically for Chinese nationals at immigration.
There are now hot water facilities across all concourses.
Alipay is widely accepted across DXB, including Dubai Duty Free.
Dubai World Central (DWC) welcomed a total of 900,000 passengers in 2018 (-0.5%) following a surge in customer numbers in Q3 (+26.1%) and moderate growth in Q4 (+3%) last year, thanks to the launch of new services from scheduled and charter carriers during the second half of the year.
The top regions contributing to growth in traffic at DWC include CIS (408,747 passengers) which grew by 44.4%, Western Europe (196,355 passengers) surging 107.9%, and Eastern Europe (186,655 passengers), which grew 3.7%. Russia was the top country destination with customer traffic reaching 405,976 followed by Germany (169,307) and Lebanon (55,103 customers).
Some of the top destination cities during the year were Moscow (121,049 passengers), Beirut (55,103 passengers), and Katowice (43,906 passengers).
A total of 29,959 flights took off or landed at DWC during 2018 (-12.4% YoY).
DWC moved a total of 258,375 tonnes of freight in Q4 bringing the total cargo volume for the year to 987,986 tonnes (+1.6%).
DWC is gearing up for a major surge in activity in the second quarter of 2019, when the Southern Runway Refurbishment project will be underway at Dubai International (DXB).
The closure of DXB’s Southern runway from April 16 to May 30th, 2019 will reduce the airport’s capacity making DWC an attractive alternate to absorb affected scheduled, charter, cargo and general aviation operations.
The 45-day period will be a great opportunity for the emerging airport to showcase its newly expanded facilities that can now accommodate up to 26.5 million passengers annually.
DWC is currently served by 10 passenger airlines which operate an average of 21 weekly flights to seven international destinations. It is also home to 20 cargo operators that fly to as many as 45 cities around the world.
Chinese travellers arriving at Dubai International (DXB) during the next few days are in for a string of surprises as Dubai Airports has announced a range of activities involving food, music, dedicated services and special amenities across the airport in celebration of the Chinese New Year.
It’s all part of a comprehensive “China Ready” strategy designed to boost traffic between Dubai and the 13 destinations in China served by DXB.
Apart from celebrating Chinese culture through art, food, and musical performances, the airport has taken a number of integrated steps to engage Chinese travellers, from the installation of potable hot water dispensers to the use of Mandarin language for communication, digital menus for select restaurants, as well as digital channels such as the airport’s Wow-Fi product, and even a special Mandarin edition of the airport’s popular magazine Time Out DXB.
A growing number of retail and food concessionaires at DXB have now adapted and are offering Alipay, China’s most popular mobile payment platform, as a payment option.
Dubai Airports is deploying Mandarin-speaking May I Help You Staff at key customer touch points across the airport while also providing four dedicated immigration counters at arrivals hosted by Emiratis fluent in Mandarin, for visitors from China.
Dubai Airports has also partnered with DTCM to include special passport inserts at immigration for arriving Chinese travellers, which will include a QR code that links with recommendations for events taking place across the city during Chinese New Year. Late last year, Dubai Airports also signed an agreement with China’s leading tour operator C-Trip.
The celebrations are part of Dubai Airports’ plan which focuses on anticipating requirements unique to the Chinese culture and making product and service enhancements accordingly to enhance services to growing number of Chinese travellers at DXB.
In 2018, passenger traffic between DXB and China grew by 6% to 3.5 million with 6 airlines operating 205 weekly flights to 13 destinations.
Dubai International (DXB) retained its position as the world’s busiest airport for international customer numbers for the fifth consecutive year with annual traffic for 2018 surpassing 89.1 million.
Aside from record traffic numbers, DXB enjoyed a banner year for customer service with shorter wait times and new retail and food and beverage offerings all of which are summarised in Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths’ annual video message.
Key facts and figures
Total of 89,149,387 for the full year of 2018 (+1%). DXB welcomed 7,722,959 customers in December (-1.7%), taking the average monthly traffic at the hub to 7.4 million for the year. The 8-million customer mark was breached twice during the year in July (8.2m) and August (8.4m) making the latter the busiest month in DXB’s 58-year history.
India continued to hold to its position as DXB’s top destination country by passenger numbers, with traffic for the year reaching 12,279,485 – propelled mainly by top city destinations Mumbai, Delhi and Cochin. Saudi Arabia was number two on the list with 6,471,142 customers, followed closely by The United Kingdom with 6,284,771 customers. Other destination countries of note include the U.S. (3,205,524 customers) and the fast-growing markets of China (3,512,075) with 6% growth and Russia (1,533,654) which grew 14.5%.
The top three cities were London (3,817,889 customers), Mumbai (2,540,750) and Kuwait (2,194,576).
Eastern Europe was the fastest growing region with double-digit growth of 16.7%, followed by CIS at 12.9% and Africa growing 9.8%.
Flight movements for the year remained almost flat at 408,251 (-0.3%), while the average number of customers per flight grew slightly to 226 (1.3%) annually.
Wait times were reduced by 28% in 2018, thanks to DXB’s advanced operations centre which uses real-time information to improve service and efficiency, as well as the smart gates that help speed customers through immigration.
A total of 2,641,383 tonnes of airfreight was handled at DXB (-0.5%) during 2018.
74.9 million bags (+3.1%) passed through the airport’s 175 km long baggage system during 2018.
If you listen closely, you can almost hear the pitter patter of British expats charging through Terminal 3 to get their morning fix from the brand-new Pret A Manger.
The beloved British café has a place on every High Street and a place in the heart of every commuter, city worker and tourist who has stepped foot in one. Why the big fuss?
Well, for a start the freshly made sandwiches, salads, wraps, toasties, hot pots and some of the biggest croissants around. And, they’re hard to come by in Dubai. There are only three in the city, two of which are right here in the airport.
The newest branch is open in Concourse A, Terminal 3, the other is in Concourse D, Terminal 1, and you’ll find all the classic healthy dishes.
Using high quality ingredients all of Pret’s fresh items are prepared in the on-site kitchen every day, providing travellers with a delicious selection of veggie and vegan options, as well as meaty dishes, protein pots and six exclusive hot pots.
The menu includes the tuna mayo granary sandwich, the superfood mezze salad, the Italian chicken salad, hot food, cheesecake, double berry muffin, chocolate chunk cookie, chocolate croissant and a variety of organic hot coffees and freshly brewed teas.