A regular source from the Emirates Kampala office broke the news overnight that their new dedicated A380 terminal will be opened officially on the 01st of January 2013, taking the midnight fireworks Dubai has become famous for further into the New Year.
Built exclusively for Emirates as part of the ongoing airport expansion at a cost of over 3.5 billion US Dollars, a very significant figure considering the parallel development by Dubai of their new mega airport in Jebel Ali Al Maktoum International Airport, aka Dubai World International which when complete will be the worlds largest airport, it also goes to show that providing crucial infrastructure on the ground goes hand in hand with giving the airline the facilities it needs to continue their aggressive expansion drive. This year alone will see the airline add 11 more A380 and 20 more B777 aircraft to their fleet.
Dubai in 2011 processed nearly 51 million passengers, a figure expected to rise again in 2012 alongside more destinations coming on line for Emirates and the ongoing expansion of the airport will catapult Dubai International into the top slot for international airports by next year, overtaking such rivals as Heathrow.
These developments of aviation infrastructure on a hitherto unprecedented scale in the Gulf region, from Dubai over Abu Dhabi to Doha, is shaping a new world order of aviation where the traditional powers of North America and Europe are left trailing in the wake of a massive expansion in the Gulf of fleets and airport infrastructure as a result of being unable to match the growing demand for flights around the globe with an expanded infrastructure at their own home hubs while at the same time also failing to match the cost structure of the Gulf airlines. This is a sore point between Europes and Americas large airlines and something which in the recent past led to some heated and at times unprecedented tit for tat exchanges on several platforms which bring the global aviation fraternity together. Fodder for thought for future articles but for now, we are just barely 9 months away from the official opening of the new A380 terminal and passengers from Eastern Africa will be able to then connect to the rest of the world with the largest passenger aircraft in operation in comfort previously unknown, especially when flying First or Business class. Watch this space.