x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

National Geographic to feature Dubai International in 10-part series

Dubai International, the world's second busiest airport, will feature in a National Geographic documentary that could be seen by up to half a billion people.

A new show will focus on Dubai airport's day-to-day operations. Filming was carried out over a period of five months. Courtesy of Dubai Airports
A new show will focus on Dubai airport's day-to-day operations. Filming was carried out over a period of five months. Courtesy of Dubai Airports

Dubai International, the world's second busiest airport, will feature in a National Geographic documentary that could be seen by up to half a billion people.

Ultimate Airport Dubai, a 10-part series, launches on National Geographic's global channel tonight and will air in about 160 countries.

The show is the brainchild of John Smithson, the creative director of Arrow Media, a production company that has already made a number of programmes in Dubai as part of the Megastructures series on National Geographic.

"What happened was a couple of times in the last three or four years I was flying as a regular passenger in transit in Dubai and the usual thing, changing planes … and I thought this is just incredibly busy with people from all over the world," he said.

"National Geographic channel international was talking about [doing] a programme that would be effortlessly international and I thought Dubai would be brilliant for that.

"People who work here are from the UAE and from all over the world and the people who fly here and are in transit here are literally from all over the world."

Mr Smithson approached Dubai Airports in January last year and filming started the following August, wrapping up in the new year.

The episodes focus on the airport's day to day operations, such as runway and airplane maintenance as well as traffic management and the building and trialling of Concourse A, which opened this year.

Emirates Airline, Dnata, Dubai Duty Free and Dubai Customs were all involved.

"It's a very honest portrayal at what happens every day and what does come out is that even in situations that are difficult it's the passion and the commitment of the people who have to resolve the issues that really shines through," said Lorne Riley, the head of corporate communications at Dubai Airports.

"We don't claim to be perfect or flawless. What we do profess to have is an ongoing commitment to be the best that we can be," he added.

During filming, three to four crews shot on site every day for a period of five months, recording about 400 hours of footage.

 

gduncan@thenational.ae