The new ten-part series, titled ‘Ultimate Airport Dubai’ that will premiere on September 5 at 8pm on National Geographic Channel (NGC) will offer unprecedented behind-the-scene access to the world’s second busiest international airport.
The various scenes will show what it takes to keep Dubai International safe, secure and on schedule. From the Control Tower and Customs interrogations to angry customers, cargo headaches and new construction, nothing is left unturned in the series. It includes all three massive terminals, including Terminal 3, the biggest airport terminal building by floor space — measuring 359 football pitches in size.
With unprecedented access to all facets of this mega facility, the series follows some of the 60,000 staff working hard to keep everything in place with more than 344,000 flights, 57 million passengers and two million tonnes of cargo flying in and out each year,
‘Ultimate Airport Dubai’ provides viewers with an all-access ticket to the various divisions of this expanding airport, which is poised to become the world’s busiest airport for international travel one day. It takes an army of well-trained staff, the latest technological advancements, and an enormous amount of space to safely operate.
From Air Traffic Control handling emergency landings, customs intercepting suspected smugglers and engineers taking apart multi-million dollar jets to dealing with late flights and angry passengers, cargo headaches and even the construction of brand new $3.2-billion A380 facility, NGC provides a 360-degree view of this “ultimate airport”.
It offers a rare insight into the many and varied jobs that most travellers never even see, but that are vital to keep things running smoothly. The job of an air traffic controller is one of the most stressful occupations in the world, especially at Dubai International where a plane takes off or lands every 92.5 seconds. See how air traffic controllers, ready to respond in a moment’s notice, react to an in-flight medical emergency with injured passengers. And, work alongside the engineers that keep Dubai’s 90-kilometre baggage system running smoothly.
The series also enters Emirates Airlines’ massive engineering hangar to meet the elite aviation technicians tasked with keeping some of the largest planes in the world operational.
Viewers can see how they test 18,000 engine components and how long it takes to repaint an Airbus A330-200. After replacing a multi-million dollar engine, join pilots on a high-speed test flight, where they push the plane beyond the limits allowed during normal passenger travel.
Over at the Emirates flight attendant training school, experience an all-too-real crash landing simulation and find out what it is like to slide out of the biggest passenger aircraft in the world during a water-landing training exercise.
The airport is already operating to near capacity 24 hours a day, seven days a week but much like the rest of Dubai, it has the ambition to become number one.
The new NGC series also follows the construction of a new, state-of-the-art concourse that will accommodate another 15 million passengers each year. Upon completion, it will be the first dedicated facility for the world’s biggest fleet of A380s. With the grand opening rapidly approaching, and an inspection by a member of the royal family on the horizon, crew members furiously battle leaky pipes, missing materials, and delinquent contractors to finish the job on time.
Numbers say it all
Reports showed that Dubai International’s passenger traffic rose 6.1 per cent in July, reaching 5,310,361 compared to 5,006,155 during the same month last year.
The year to date traffic is up 15.3 per cent to 37,972,464 compared to 32,937,794 during the first seven months of 2012. Aircraft movements totalled 28,462 during July, an increase of 2.3 per cent from the 27,829 recorded during the same period last year. Passengers per aircraft movement in July was at 201.
Dubai Airports, operator of Dubai International, said that overall passenger numbers, Western Europe traffic took over as the top market thanks to robust growth (+13.4 per cent) during the month. The Indian subcontinent, which fell to second spot, continued to show positive growth (+6.1 per cent) due to the expansion of several Indian carriers including Indigo, Spice Jet and Air India Express. North American traffic growth slowed recently, in comparison with the strong growth trends witnessed last year.