Dubai International Airport opened a new concourse Wednesday designed specifically to handle a double-decker Airbus A380 aircraft.
Flight EK003 to London's Heathrow Airport became the first flight to use the facility, dubbed Concourse A. It's part of the Terminal 3 complex, which is built for the exclusive use of Emirates airline. All other carriers operate out of Terminal 1 and 2.
Having a terminal built unique to the A380 will speed up boarding times for travelers, and ease congestion in gate rooms not originally built for the high-capacity aircraft, which seats about 500 passengers.
"We are opening Concourse A in stages with more gates coming online in each successive phase," said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, in a press release. "We believe that this approach of gradual transition will enable us and all our partners to ensure smooth operations and help us to deliver on our customer service commitment."
Four of 20 total gates were brought online Wednesday.
More than 3,800 travelers volunteered to test the gate areas and boarding procedures in December during an operational trial to ensure the new concourse would be ready. Emirates operates two versions of the enormous A380.
The new concourse increases Dubai Airport's annual passenger capacity by 25 percent to 75 million travelers from 60 million. An estimated 57 million passengers used the airport in 2012. For more information on Dubai International Airport, click here.