Dubai – Terminal 1 Duty Free Shopping
Dubai International Airport is changing fast and its original terminals are changing with it.
Early in 2013 Dubai International opened the impressive Concourse A, claimed to be the world’s first purpose-built facility for the Airbus A380, capable of handling 20 of them.
While the focus has been on this concourse, which is part of Terminal 3 the airport’s newest terminal, Dubai is also pressing ahead with a revamp of Terminal 1, which remains a substantial passenger processing building with five check-in areas (A to E) comprising 189 counters.
The T1 refurbishment starts from spring 2013 and not only includes behind-the-scenes improvements in baggage screening and baggage systems, but the replacement of all check-in desks and the modernisation of all the public areas. The upgrade is expected to be completed by the end of 2014 so expect closed-off areas and some disruption if you fly through before then.
The improvements should reduce the time it takes passengers to get from the T1 forecourt to the departure gates. The additional space created by the streamlined baggage processing is going to be used to transform the departures hall where shopping will be enhanced.
The airport is also going to appoint specialist retail companies for concessions in the arrivals area which will see new telecoms shops, car rentals, currency exchange, a hotel, tour operators, pharmacies, convenience stores, restaurants and new coffee shops. The project includes the expansion of the arrivals hall where ‘meeters and greeters’ will be able to wait in a fully air-conditioned space with new food and shopping outlets.
Regular travellers at Dubai will know that retail is already a core feature at the Emirates airline hub. While T3 now has the lion’s share of store sales at about 60%, T1 remains important because it houses more than 100 carriers.
Here Dubai Duty Free runs a broad mix of shops and retail areas clustered at the centre of the cigar-shaped building on two levels, where a giant gold stylised palm tree proudly stands. Right underneath it is the circular gold and jewellery shop where the metal is in huge demand, whether bought as a finished ring or necklace, or by the centimetre as chain links.
Nearby on the concourse you can buy a raffle ticket for AED 500 to win a car but not any old car… typically a luxury saloon like a Bentley or a sports couple like an Audi A8 is up for grabs.
Another big draw is the watches outlet which has fine timepieces from all the big names including Rolex, Omega and Tissot up to the specialists like IWC, Jaeger Le Coultre, Blancpain and Ulysse Nardin. There is also a very wide choice of electronic items and mobile phones in T1 and, not surprisingly, the two categories have large adjacent areas devoted to them.
Even bigger spaces are reserved for perfumes and for liquor, but the biggest area of all is set aside for confectionery which is positioned at three corners of the shopping mall and is prominent because it is such a popular category for migrant workers, many of whom go to-and-from their homelands via T1.
There are also strong branded corners for high-end fashion houses such as Hugo Boss, Hermès, Salvatore Ferragamo, Emporio Armani and Lacoste, while sport and leisure brands have three kiosks dotted about the terminal.
- Passenger capacity: 33 million.
- Airlines: Currently over 100, of which the biggest carriers (by number of routes) are Air India, Pakistan International Airlines, IndiGo, Ural Airlines and African Express Airways.
- Worth knowing: The T1 refurbishment that is taking place in 2013/14 paves the way for a new elevated train system which will link it to Concourse D, now under construction. Upon completion in 2015, Concourse D will become the home to more than 100 international airlines when it opens.