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Mohammed opens Dubai 2001

posted on 05/11/2001: 1670 views

Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum yesterday inaugurated Dubai 2001 air show and announced the construction of a third terminal at Dubai Inter-national Airport and two more concourses at a cost of $1.4 billion. The global airline industry also received a boost with Emirates announcing its biggest ever order totalling almost $15 billion for 58 large aircraft. The order – divided among Airbus and Boeing – is also Dubai's vote of confidence in the future of aviation and in its own ability to continue to grow dramatically to about a 100 aircraft by 2010 serving a traffic of some 50 million. Sheikh Mohammed, who spent three-and-a-half hours touring the show, headed a VIP delegation that included Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces Lt-Gen Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Duke of York Prince Andrew, President, Dubai Department of Civil Aviation and Chairman of Emirates Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Vice Admiral Charles W Moore Jr, and numerous government officials. Sheikh Mohammed said: "Our country has transformed itself into a major player on the global stage, and our goal is now to expand its dynamic growth into every area of commerce, tourism and transport." Construction on the third terminal is expected to begin early 2002 and finish in 2006. The mega cargo terminal will be built in phases and completed by 2018. Terminal three, directly linked to concourse two, will be located beneath the apron and taxiway area. It will have first-class lounges and dedicated counters, restaurants, 180 check-in counters and 2,600 underground parking spaces. The Emirates-exclusive concourse two will be directly connected to terminal three and will have five aerobridges handling Airbus A380. It will be connected to concourse two by electric buses and will have 27 contact gates and 12 gates for A380s. Sheikh Mohammed rejected the idea of moving Dubai International Airport to another place, away from the city centre, saying there are plans to build a new airport if the number of passengers reaches 50 million annually. The two contracts for aircraft were signed at the Dubai 2001 air show complex on behalf of Emirates by Sheikh Ahmed. Emirates placed on firm order 22 giant double-decker Airbus A380s with an option for 10 more in an order valued at $7 billion. It also contracted to buy three more A330s for another $415 million, and signed a letter of intent to buy eight A340s for around $1 billion. Delivery starts in 2006. Total value of orders placed with Airbus stand at $8.15 billion. From Boeing, Emirates signed a letter of intent to acquire 25 more Boeing 777 200s and 300s between 2004 and 2010. The order is worth $6.6 billion. Engines for either have not been decided yet. The choice is between Rolls Royce and Alliance of Pratt & Whitney and GE. Sheikh Mohammed, who attended the signing ceremonies, said: "Our country today stands four-square at the crossroads of the world, and has transformed itself into a major player on the global stage. Our goal now is to expand its dynamic growth into every area of commerce, tourism and transport. "Our unwavering aim is to make this the best place to do business, the top tourist destination and transport hub of the region and the undisputed commercial and communications capital of the Middle East. This record-breaking aircraft order is a key component in this strategy. "Huge commercial projects are under way. Massive housing developments are rising from the sands. Two huge offshore islands visible from space, will double our coastline. Dubai airport will grow to handle five times the 14 million passengers a year it sees today. We are not content simply to wait for the future – we are building it. "The $15 billion Boeing-Airbus deal was part of the development plan to make Emirates the leader." Sheikh Mohammed also answered questions during a press conference. He expressed his delight and welcomed international airlines and aviation companies. He said the attendance of 450 companies specialised in the airline industry, defence equipment and military technology was evidence of the "good reputation our country enjoys." "It also stands as evidence that current international developments have not affected the course of life in our country which enjoys peace, security and stability." He brushed aside the media campaign launched by some foreign agencies against the UAE and GCC. "This propaganda does not cause any anxiety here because we know ourselves and trust the policy of our leader President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan which is based on tolerance, co-existence and love between peoples of the world because this makes the core of Islamic teachings." Sheikh Ahmed also announced a two-year US$2.5 million advertising campaign with CNN International that will take viewers on a cultural voyage of Dubai. It includes 24 mini-documentaries on falconry, henna, pearl diving, perfumery, Arabian horses, architecture, dhow building and Arabian music and dance. Sheikh Mohammed said the establishment of an international Arab-owned English TV station is possible, but until then existing stations will be used for advertising. For the second time, Dubai Duty Free also won the "Airport Retailer of the year" in Cannes. (The Gulf News)


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