Dubai: New Al Maktoum airport to eliminate 'lazy operator syndrome', says top official

There will be several points of security and passport control throughout the airport, removing all sorts of bottlenecks

by

Nasreen Abdulla

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Exterior design of Al Maktoum International Airport. Photo: Supplied
Exterior design of Al Maktoum International Airport. Photo: Supplied

Published: Tue 4 Jun 2024, 5:33 PM

Last updated: Tue 4 Jun 2024, 10:35 PM

Short walks, no queues and no crowding – the new Al Maktoum international airport in Dubai will reimagine how airports work.

“We want to get the intimacy of travel back,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports. “[We will] eliminate most of the legacy elements that exist in airports which have been there for a long time.”


Griffiths was talking at a panel discussion at the annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) which concludes in Dubai on Tuesday.

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Re-imagining the way airports work

He said that the current system of all passengers coming from different parts of the world, and being forced to go through a single point of security and immigration was caused because airport operators were “lazy”.

“It creates queues, walking distances and it wastes time,” he said. “It is what I call the lazy airport operator syndrome.”

According to him, the new Al Maktoum International airport, which is expected to be operational 10 years from now, will “re-engineer” the way airports work to make it more easy for travellers.

There will be several points of security and passport control throughout the airport, removing all sorts of bottlenecks. In an earlier interview with Khaleej Times, Griffiths had said that passengers at the airport will not need to queue up for any travel-related formalities.

“We will not force them to stand in queues,” he said. “The idea is to enable new techniques and technologies to make the airport (experience) as seamless as we possibly can.”

According to Griffiths, the airport will be built with a lot of care, harnessing the power of technology.

“The trick of building a 21st century airport is that with technology moving so quickly, how can we create an infrastructure design that's flexible enough to incorporate those moves in technological advance that haven't even been conceived yet? So it's a big design challenge, and I think we can make a huge amount of progress,” he said.

He further said that sustainability would be central to the new airport’s design.

“We will be choosing different ways of personal mobility, which are far more sustainable than what we know today,” he said.

He said that the potential of solar energy to power the airport was also being explored.

“There's enough solar energy here in the UAE to be able to power most of the city most of the time,” he said. “There's even a way of storing energy efficiently by cooling water and storing it in underground tanks so that it can be used at night to cool the buildings. There's plenty of advances that we are already looking at in great detail.”

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