DUBAI // A major upgrade of Dubai International Airport's Terminal 1 will begin in the next three months.
The overhaul will improve service, increase capacity and slash the time it takes to reach the departure gates, Dubai Airports company said yesterday. The terminal is the departure and arrival point for all major airlines besides Emirates Airline, which has a dedicated facility in Terminal 3.
Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports, said the upgrade will increase capacity and "together with the construction of Concourse D, will offer our passengers a more inviting and comfortable environment in line with the newer facilities across the terminals at Dubai International Airport".
Among the planned improvements to Terminal 1 is an upgrade of the baggage systems to allow for more efficient baggage screening. The renovation will also involve the replacement of all check-in desks and a more spacious departure hall.
The refurbishment will also expand the arrivals hall to include more food and retail outlets. The arrival immigration hall will be upgraded to reduce processing time for arriving passengers.
Officials say the refurbishment is part of Dubai Airport's expansion to cope with an expected capacity rise to 90 million by 2018.
The terminal's facelift will be completed by the end of 2014 - in time for the planned 2015 completion of Concourse D, the new gates being constructed to accommodate more than 100 airlines.
Terminal 1 is currently connected to its gates by a 300-metre long underground tunnel with travelators, but improvements will include a new elevated train system to ferry passengers to their gates.
Travel operators welcomed the move, saying it tied in well with the emirate's bid to host the World Expo 2020. Dubai is competing against Brazil, Russia, Thailand and Turkey to host the six-month world fair that is held every five years.
"The existing rail and road connectivity of Terminal 1 is already very good, but the Dubai government is looking beyond at 2020," said Sudesh TP, the general manager of Deira Travel and Tourist agency.
"This is a long-term plan to build infrastructure to benefit passengers. I look at this as a positive move."
Some passengers said they had hoped for a revamp of Terminal 2, which caters to budget airlines.
"Any upgrade is a good thing, but Terminal 1 is already in good shape," said Tanay Srivastava, the head of food processing company. "It is Terminal 2 where the smaller airlines fly out from that needs to be upgraded because it is claustrophobic and needs to be completely refurbished."