Three golden rules for airport openings

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Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, says there are three rules to be observed when opening a new airport terminal: never announce an opening date, never advertise how great the airport will be for passengers before the facility actually works and never switch operations all at once.

Dubai International is building a new concourse adjacent to the two existing terminals that is to be opened “in the next few months”, Griffiths told the German aviation press club. Of course, sticking to his own rules, he does not say when exactly, he also does not say how great it will be and Dubai will phase it in to slowly gather experience and solve any teething problems.

Griffiths has ample opportunity to repeat the exercise: work has already started on Concourse D, which will be mainly used by international airlines. And Terminal 2 on the other side of the runways is being expanded as well.

Of course, Griffiths’ approach does not mean there have not been delays, but they are just not so high profile.

According to his theory, Berlin’s new international airport has been the latest example of how not to do it: the announced opening date had to be shifted three times and the airport had launched a huge advertising campaign showcasing what a fantastic airport it will be. And, of course, it will be opened in one big bang. Whenever it is opened. It’s now sometime in 2013, they say…

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