Dubai – Terminal 2 Duty Free Shopping
You only have to look at the flight departure board in Terminal 2 of Dubai International Airport to know that you are not in one of the hub’s main – or for that matter upscale locations.Major European, Asian and American capital cities are not to be seen and instead the focus is on far more esoteric – and not widely known – destinations. Addis Ababa, Ahmedabad, Baghdad, Baku, Donetsk, Jeddah, Kazan, Kuwait, Lucknow, Samara, Sana’a, Ta’if, and Yerevan are just a small sample.
T2 is, in reality a terminal for mostly regional, medium-haul destinations in Africa, the Middle East and central Asia. It is the hub for low cost carrier flydubai, which has around 60 destinations worldwide, plus a mix of other small-scale carriers.
The fact that T2 is Dubai International Airport’s de facto low cost terminal is perhaps evidenced by metro stations only having been built at T3 and T1 (so far), although being on the opposite side of the airfield to T2 and T3 does make this terminal most costly to connect.
That said, flydubai’s growth and problems with overcrowding have meant that T2’s 100,000 square metres of space has been expanded in recent years to lift capacity to five million – and plans to double that to more than 10 million passengers are in place. The place nevertheless remains cramped.
Shopping and dining facilities have also been improved. The space run by Dubai Duty Free measures 1,400 square metres in departures and a much smaller store in arrivals in between baggage belts 2 and 3 (and about the same size). In addition there is also a public/landside shops with a far larger food court that includes a Starbucks.
In the main departures shopping area, Dubai Duty Free’s large unit has many departments including sports and leisure, food, toys, tobacco, electronics, music, mobiles and cameras, fashion, sunglasses, watches, gold/jewellery, perfumes and cosmetics, luggage, plus books and magazines.The dining offer is limited and goes from ubiquitous fast food restaurants like McDonald’s to other international chains such as Costa and Baskin Robins, a Tropicana juice bar and, for regional tastes, try Hatam, the Iranian restaurant.
Essentially the retail offer in T2 is focused on just the one large store with several sections as outlined above, with the food and beverage units positioned just to the other side of it in the terminal. That will be disappointing to some – particularly those who have experienced the facilities at the rest of the airport on other trips.
It is true to say that T2 rarely gets any publicity precisely because it looks somewhat anachronistic when compared with its flashy sister terminals to the south. But it is worth noting that regardless of its ugly duckling status, low cost passengers like to shop in T2: sales in 2012 grew here at double the rate of the airport’s other terminals, an impressive feat. And on top of that, how many truly exotic destinations could they take you to?
Factfile – Dubai Terminal 2
- Passenger capacity: 5 million.
- Airlines: Currently over 25, of which the biggest carriers (by number of routes) are FlyDubai, Air India Express, Iran Aseman Airlines and Fars Air Qeshm.
Worth knowing: The terminal is on the opposite side of the airport to T1 and T3 so if you need to transfer between terminals allow plenty of time for shuttles (at least 30 minutes door-to-door).