Dubai, an airport infrastructure unlike any other

Dubai Airport has the world’s first airport terminal built exclusively for the Airbus A380. Opened in January 2013 this airside facility, called Concourse A, links to Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport and is combined with Terminal 2.

The new ten-storey structure is an impressive 800 metres long and can disembark/embark 20 A380s at the same time. Designed for the exclusive use of Emirates Airlines, the building features are remarkable, with dedicated floors for departure and arrivals, business class and first class lounges, as well as four-star and five-star hotels. 

A huge security challenge

Dubai International Airport operates 24/7, and is one of the busiest airports in the world with the highest of security standards and complex operational scenarios.

Here, the challenge was to integrate new security systems in Concourse A without disrupting Concourse B, which was operating around the clock.

The seamless migration of all the systems was planned and scheduled by Thales, in close coordination with several airport stakeholders.

Indeed, Thales played a central role in this project, with responsibility for integrating all the systems needed to deliver a fully interlinked and connected 600,000m² building with end-to-end security. Thales’s turnkey solutions for Special Airport Operations enable real-time coordination of all security, telecommunications, public information and IT systems. This ensures increased security, reduced response times and improved operational business efficiencies in compliance with the airport requirements.

Coordinating all the activities at the airport complex was also a major challenge. On any given day, up to 15,000 people would be working continuously on site.

The Dubai airport authorities now manage the following services in Concourse A:

  •  Passenger information, with 800 dynamic display panels, as well as audio announcements via the 6,500 loudspeakers
  • Passenger security, with 2,000 cameras and 1,200 access control doors
  • Cutting-edge data network based on Fiber to the office (FTTO) technology as a vehicle for data, video and voice.
  • Operation of all airport information systems using the IT network and telephone system
  • Baggage routing via the wireless network
  • Voice Over IP
  • Hotel guest room control system with Hotel interactive TV.
  • Gate-to-gate security
  • Emergency response, thanks to a dedicated Tetra radio network for airport personnel

The project kicked off with about 60 people, but progressively scaled up to employ over 600. The core Thales team was made up of 130 people of 17 different nationalities.