Dubai Airports has commissioned four out of 20 gates at the world's first facility dedicated for A380 aircraft at Dubai International Airport's Terminal 3, as part of the opening of Concourse A.
The four gates were opened on 2 January 2013, with Concourse A's first flight to London Heathrow departing at 2:30pm.
Being built as part of the airport's $7.8bn Strategic Plan 2020, Concourse A is exclusively used by the Emirates airline, while other carriers will operate from Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.
The facility, dedicated to handling double-decker Airbus A380 aircraft, will help the airport speed up passenger boarding times for the high-capacity aircraft and relieve congestion in gate rooms.
Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths said that the approach of gradual transition will allow the airport and its partners to ensure smooth operations with good customer service.
"Just as we did with what turned out to be a flawless opening of Terminal 3 and Concourse B in 2008 - which was a much larger and more complex exercise involving the complete transfer of Emirates airline's operations to the new facility - we are opening Concourse A in stages with more gates coming online in each successive phase," Griffiths said.
Dubai International Airport's passenger capacity is expected to increase from 60 million to 75 million per year following the completion of Concourse A, while traffic for 2012 is anticipated to reach 57 million.
The Strategic Plan 2020 is intended to minimise constraints on growth by creating extra capacity, while enhancing service levels and generating high revenues to maximise capital investment.
Image: Flight EK003 from Dubai to London Heathrow was the first flight to depart from Concourse A. Photo: Dubai Airports.