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Dubai's A380 concourse in full operation

3:59 PM, Feb 10, 2013   |    comments
Aircraft emergency escape shoots extend into the training pool, next to an Emirates Airline simulator, the Airbus A380 at the Emirates Aviation College in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Monday, Nov. 21, 2011. Emirates, Dubai's government-owned airline, will start flights to Zimbabwe and Zambia from February, the company said. Photographer: Gabriela Maj/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Dubai's airport authorities say a purpose-build concourse for Airbus' A380 aircraft is fully open after weeks of phased-in operations.

The aircraft is a double-decker that seats 525 people and is so large some airports have to be adjusted to accommodate it.

The 20-gate concourse, which hosted its inaugural flight on Jan. 2, is part of a wider $7.8 billion expansion plan for Dubai's international airport, which seeks to become the world's busiest by 2015.

The new concourse, formally unveiled Sunday, is also a boost for the European Airbus consortium in its rivalry with Boeing Co., whose 787 has been grounded since mid-January as investigators examine possible problems in its lithium ion batteries.

The Dubai-based carrier Emirates currently flies 31 A380s and has 59 on order.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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