DUBAI – FEB. 08: The Burj Khalifa’s observation deck has been closed to the public until further notice, little more than one month after it opened, because of problems with the power supply.

At the Top
At the Top

In a statement, a spokesman for the world’s tallest tower said that yesterday afternoon’s sudden closure was for maintenance and upgrades, made necessary because of the high number of visitors over the past month.

“Technical issues with the power supply are being worked on by the main and subcontractors, and the public will be informed upon completion” of the work, the representative said.

Guests who booked advance trips to the 124th floor observation deck will be given refunds or allowed to book a date when the deck reopens, although no indication was given as to when that would be.

Staff at the tower, however, were yesterday telling tourists to book online and said it should reopen on Sunday. Emaar, the developer, was unable to confirm a reopening date.

The Burj Khalifa, the 828-metre building with more than 160 storeys, opened on January 4 after five years of construction.

Although an official count has not been provided, thousands of tourists and local residents have flocked to the building since it opened. Businesses near the tower in Dubai Mall and the surrounding area have seen retail sales increase by as much as 30 per cent.

The building’s management had previously said they were expecting nearly 3,000 tourists daily. Tickets cost Dh100, or Dh400 for “fast track” privileges.

High-speed lifts can whisk people up to the viewing deck at 10 metres per second, still taking almost a full minute to climb the 500 metres or so to the observation area.

Visitors and tourists who were planning in visiting the deck yesterday evening were clearly disappointed as they were turned away.

One visitor, John Vaughan, had travelled from London just to visit the tower and is only going to be in Dubai for a few days.

“I am going to come back tomorrow to see if I can go up. I don’t want to think about the prospect of not going up at all,” he said.

Another tourist, Matt Lahare, 42, also from the UK, said visiting the tower was on his and his wife’s “must do” list.

“We booked the trip before Christmas but didn’t know if the tower would be open. Afterwards, we saw it on the news and it went straight to the top of my list. It looked so impressive. They say it will be open next week, but we’ll be gone by then and I’m not sure if there will be a next time here.”

Annmarie Bronson, 24, from the US, said she was running out of luck. “When I went to book the tickets online when it first opened, I couldn’t and didn’t want to wait for hours with everybody else in Dubai.”

At least Ms Bronson will be able to try again. She works on a cruise ship and is due back in Dubai on Sunday. “I’m really disappointed this time because I was sure I would get up.”