CHENNAI: Nine-year-old Arjun who was travelling from United States to Chennai became the billionth passenger to land in Dubai.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, Dubai Airports and representatives from across the aviation sector and the emirate of Dubai gave the airport’s billionth warm welcome to nine-year-old Arjun along with his mother Ramya, father Venkatesh and thirteen-year-old brother Varun, who arrived from Orlando, Florida on Emirates flight EK220.
The billionth customer is arguably the most significant in a long litany of achievements since the airport first opened in September 30, 1960 with a tiny terminal building and a runway of compacted sand. Today the hub is widely considered a benchmark for its quality infrastructure, passenger and cargo volumes and high service levels despite unrelenting growth. Dubai airport handles an average of 7.5 million customers every month and this year broke its own traffic record thrice with more than 8.3 million customers in a month.
The airport took 51 years – from September 30, 1960 to December 31, 2011 – to reach its 500 millionth passenger but clocked the remaining 500 million in just seven years. Over the past 11 years alone Dubai Airports has opened seven major facilities with an investment of almost $12 billion. Five of those have been at Dubai including Terminal 3, Concourses A, B, D and the complete refurbishment and expansion of Terminal 2.
To pick the lucky passenger, Dubai Airports used its passenger traffic forecast to narrow down the selection to a specific flight and approached Emirates to make a random selection.
Arjun and his family will be staying at the iconic Atlantis Hotel and dine at the award-winning restaurants there and even spend a day exploring the Aqua venture water park. A visit to the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa – for an access all areas tour, followed by a personal shopping experience at The Dubai Mall. Then a full day with Arabian Adventures exploring the more traditional side of Dubai, around the Al Fahidi Historical neighbourhood and then into the desert for a dune drive and sunset dinner.