"We all realise that competition represents real life in this industry," says Lewis. "Equally, we all know we can do better by operating as if we had competition."
Such an ethos could prove handy: Sheikh Ahmed has already hinted that a second ground handler might be allowed to operate at the airport once the latest expansion is complete.For now, it is unclear whether any new handler would be granted a licence to operate at the old terminal, the new one, or airport wide.
For now, Dnata largely runs the show, albeit with Emirates and Emirates SkyCargo self-handling on the passenger and cargo side respectively, and Emirates Abela providing catering. Other airlines are allowed to self-handle on the passenger side, but none have taken up the option.
"Dnata was born with sole handling rights, but we are realistic enough to know that the aviation industry is very competitive and there is the probability that when construction has finished another ground handler could bang on the door," admits Lewis.
"In my opinion, it would not be wise to entertain the notion of another full service handler here until construction has finished."
But while Dnata may not necessarily face a direct threat to its business at Dubai, it faces plenty of competition geographically. A close eye is certainly kept on the pricing policies of Sharjah, a neighbouring emirate with its own international airport just eight miles down the road, as well as Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE another 100 miles to the west.
Another issue that the entire airport community continues to monitor closely is, of course, the prospect of a second conflict with Iraq. The DCA dismisses this as a temporary factor which does not seriously affect Dubai, but it is hard to imagine a second outbreak of hostilities between Iraq and the West not impacting operations at the airport.
While Dubai has been one of the most politically stable cities in the Arab world for many decades - the Switzerland of the Middle East as Dennehy puts it - and Iraq may be very far away, the emirate's location on the Gulf places it too close for comfort in many people's eyes.
But Dubai has proved its buoyancy before, and believes it can do so again. After the last Gulf conflict in 1991, North America-bound traffic understandably dropped off, as did the volume to and from Europe. However, the drop proved short term.
Even after 9/11, Emirates kept its schedule largely intact and very few of the carriers that curtailed flights in October 2001 failed to return to regular scheduling by March 2002. Europeans, in particular, came back in a hurry. Never underestimate, it seems, the northern European's need for guaranteed winter sunshine.
Conversations continue about the Iraq situation, but as Lewis points out, "What can we do? It's so hard to factor in."
Instead, Lewis and Dnata prefer to concentrate on the main challenge ahead: serving an aviation empire that has become one of the success stories of this and any other region.
Ground service provider wins sixth Aviation Business Award, organized by the publisher of Aviation Business magazine and ArabianSupplyChain.com.
The Emirates Group today reported its 20th consecutive year of net profit, notching a new profit record despite soaring oil prices and challenging business conditions in the second half of its 2007-08...