x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

One month on, Burj Khalifa observation deck still closed

After abruptly closing the At The Top observation deck to visitors, the tower's operators have yet to indicate when it will reopen.

DUBAI // As Playmrn Balgoev lined up the world's tallest tower in his camera's viewfinder, he wondered what Dubai looked like from the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa. Unfortunately, the 27-year-old tourist from Bulgaria will leave the emirate without finding out. This is because one month after abruptly closing the At The Top observation deck to visitors, its operators have yet to indicate when it will reopen.

A short statement from Emaar, the developer of the Burj, said the closing on February 7 was needed to conduct maintenance. The company has yet to confirm if the problem has to do with a faulty lift in the 828m tower, which was reported to have trapped 15 people the day it was closed. Dubai Civil Defence confirmed that a lift became stuck between the 124th and 125th floors for about 30 minutes. On January 4, five days after opening, 14 people were stuck in a lift for an hour.

"I really don't know why it is closed, but they should be telling people before they arrive," said Mr Balgoev. "But I think this is the best way to see it, from the ground." His travelling companion, Ira Tcolova, 18, also from Bulgaria, was more disappointed. "I really want to go up and see what it is like," he said. "We heard so much about it and it was the first thing we wanted to do - go up and see it."

While staff told the pair the deck would open in two weeks, The National was told no opening date had been set. Other tourists were walking as close as they could to the tower, hoping to get a glimpse of what it was like inside, but were stopped by security tape. Klaus Becker, 52, from Germany, was in Dubai on a cruise around the Gulf with his wife. "Five taxi drivers told us it was open. They all said, 'Yes, sir, Burj Khalifa is very good'."

The observation deck was going to be the highlight of their trip. "I am very disappointed. There is nobody here to tell us why it is closed." The tower boasts 57 lifts, each able to travel at 10m per second while carrying as many as 14 people. More than 75,000 workers were involved installing the Burj's lifts and escalators. eharnan@thenational.ae