Paris Air Show

Dubai aims to be the world’s aviation and logistics hub

 - June 19, 2007, 11:38 PM

Dubai plans investments totaling $82 billion in aerospace over the next 10 years in support of its aim to become the world’s aviation and logistics hub. Dubai International Airport (DIA) will nearly treble its passenger capacity and double its cargo capacity, even as the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) powers ahead with construction of Dubai World Central at Jebel Ali, which will eventually become the world’s biggest airport with at least six runways.

Another government-backed venture, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, has made rapid progress since its formation at the beginning of last year. DAE recently hired Robert Genise, a founder and former president of Bouillion Aviation Services, to head a new aircraft leasing operation, the company announced here in Paris.

Oil Is Negligible
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of DCA, said here yesterday that oil now accounts for only 5 percent of the emirate’s GDP, while services have been growing at an average annual rate of 21 percent since the start of the century and now represents 74 percent of GDP.

Sheikh Ahmed is also chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline, which plans to expand its existing 100-strong fleet to more than 180 widebody aircraft. “With Dubai emerging as the regional trade, business and tourism center, DIA’s role and scope of operations have acquired new significance,” he said.

The current annual total of 30 million passengers is set to double by 2010, with a quarter of those 60 million expected to be tourists.

Regarding DAE’s intention to begin leasing aircraft, CEO Robert Johnson, said, “We plan to be the best lessor in the world.” And the biggest? “That’s not one of our goals,” he said. “Not immediately, anyway. DAE plans to complete its first transaction before next November’s Dubai Airshow.”

Current investments in tourism, hospitality, leisure and entertainment projects under construction in Dubai exceed $365 million.

 “Our multibillion-dollar investments in the aviation sector are in line with this projected growth,” Sheikh Ahmed said.