Dubai Airports (DXB) and representatives from across the aviation sector and the emirate of Dubai gave a warm welcome to the airport’s billionth passenger, nine-year-old Arjun and his family, who arrived this morning from Orlando, Florida on Emirates flight EK220.
At a celebration held in DXB earlier today, Arjun along with his mother Ramya, father Venkatesh and thirteen-year-old brother Varun, were personally greeted by H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports and warmly welcomed on their first visit to Dubai. They were also delighted with details of an unforgettable and surprising set of experiences that showcase Dubai’s longstanding reputation for excitement, luxury and modern Arabic hospitality, organised for the next few days of their trip.
At the airport this afternoon, Sheikh Ahmed said, "This landmark billionth passenger achievement is the result of teamwork and collaboration, and special thanks go out to each and every member of the airport community who have played a role in this journey."
He added, "Of course, we would not be in this position if it were not for the visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, both of whom foresaw the development of Dubai into a global centre for trade, tourism and commerce enabled by a fast-growing and world-leading aviation sector with top-flight airport infrastructure."
The billionth customer is arguably the most significant in a long litany of achievements since the airport first opened in 30th September, 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. DXB 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.
Nothing puts DXB’s growth in perspective more than the fact that the airport took 51 years, until December 31, 2011, to reach its 500 millionth passenger but clocked the remaining 500 million in just seven years. Over the past 11 years, Dubai Airports has opened seven major facilities with an investment of almost US$12 billion. Five of those have been at DXB 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.
During their stay, Arjun and his family will be visiting some of the top Dubai experiences and treated like superstars all the way. The family will stay at the iconic Atlantis Hotel and dine at the award-winning restaurants there and even spend a day exploring the Aquaventure water park. There will be 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, they will spend a full day with Arabian Adventures exploring the more traditional side of Dubai, around the Al Fahidi historical neighbourhood, and later in the day, they will make their way into the desert for a dune drive and a sunset dinner.
Dubai Airports will be posting highlights of the family’s visit across its social media channels in the near future.