DUBAI // More than 1,000 volunteers were given a sneak preview of the airport's new A380 concourse as they took part in the first operational trial of the new facility involving the public.
Saturday's test-drive was intended to check the readiness of the staff, systems and procedures. It followed a number of preliminary exercises involving airport employees.
The 1,100 volunteers included men, women, children, senior citizens and people with special needs. They played the part of passengers arriving, departing and transiting through the Dh12 billion concourse.
They tested the effectiveness of signs, travelled on the train from Terminal 3 to the concourse, browsed in shops and sampled restaurants.
The trial was designed to detect flaws or problems, improve customer service and enable staff to become more familiar with the new building. Processes and systems will be fine-tuned in response to the findings, and further trials will be held.
"Before opening it is imperative that we are diligent in testing every aspect of the passenger experience across the new facility," said Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports.
"The trial has yielded some very valuable insights which we will be analysing and acting on.
"I would like to thank all the volunteers who took time out on their weekend and brought their families along to lend support to the trial. They have become part of Dubai's aviation history."
As a thank-you for taking part, the volunteers were each give a goody bag and a 10 per cent discount voucher for Dubai Duty Free. Holders of Emirates' Skywards loyalty card were among those invited to participate.
One volunteer described the train on Twitter as "lovely" and said Dubai had given the A380 "one beautiful new home".
He added: "Dubai just raises the bar with every new thing they build."
The new building, officially known as Concourse A, is part of the Terminal 3 complex used exclusively by Emirates Airline. It is the world's first facility purpose-built for the A380 superjumbo and will increase the airport's capacity from 60 million to 75 million passengers per year. It is due to open early next year.