'We're back': Dubai airport's Terminal 1 reopens after 15 months to handle summer surge

Workers turn on the lights at T1 and Concourse D

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Dubai International Airport's Terminal 1 reopened on Thursday as the city prepares for a 'summer surge'.

The lights were switched back on after 15 months, in a sign that the aviation and travel sector is ready to bounce back.

Airport officials expect a "flood" of travellers in the coming weeks as hundreds of thousands of people jet off when schools close - and inbound tourists head to the emirate for holidays.

"Terminal 1 is back!" the airport posted on Twitter.

"After 15 months of hibernation, Dubai’s aviation community came together to turn on the lights and reactivate DXB’s T1 & Concourse D."

Terminal 1 and its extension Concourse D can together handle 18 million passengers a year.

Earlier this week, officials set at target of 8 per cent growth to 28 million passengers in 2021.

That target is far below DXB's pre-pandemic peak of 86 million, but would still make it among the busiest for international traffic in the world.

Terminal 1 will enable the gradual return of more than 40 international carriers that are currently based at terminals 2 and 3, which reopened last year.

Terminal 2 was largely dedicated to short-haul flights to Asia, while Terminal 3 was dedicated to Emirates and Qantas prior to the pandemic.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, chairman of Dubai Airports, said earlier this week that the move "signals our confidence that the outlook for the rest of the year and beyond is one of optimism, as well as being a clear indication of Dubai’s intent to lead the aviation industry to enable social and economic recovery of the world".