In Brief


Dubai Airport Show set to be No 1
DUBAI is set to overtake Munich as the home of the world’s largest international airport industry exhibition, according to organisers of the recently concluded Airport Build & Supply Exhibition.

The Streamline Marketing Group said the event’s 25 per cent growth this year will be followed by more major expansion in 2007, making it the industry’s largest. At least 70 more airport suppliers from around the world are expected to boost next year’s overall exhibitor line-up to more than 450, allowing the Dubai event to climb above Munich’s Inter Airport Europe. The show’s progression mirrors the huge volume of airport development and expansion currently taking place across the Middle East, Africa and Indian Subcontinent, estimated at more than $40 billion, half of this in the UAE alone. New sections at next year’s show will focus on ground handling and airport logistics.

IFA increases capital to KD 44.9 million
International Financial Advisors (IFA) has announced a 50 per cent increase in the company’s capital from KD29.9 million to KD44.9 million, at its recent annual general meeting. Jassim M Al-Bahar, chairman and managing director, IFA also announced the distribution of 20 per cent cash dividend and 50 per cent bonus shares among the company’s shareholders. This follows the record net profit of KD172 million including the Minority Interests that IFA achieved in 2005, out of which the net profit for the company stood at KD153 million. IFA’s total assets also grew by eight per cent from KD221 million in 2004 to KD404 million in 2005 and shareholders’ equity registered a 146 per cent increase from KD85 million in 2004 to KD209 million in 2005.

Roadshow success
A recent roadshow led by the Maldives Tourism Promotion Board (MTPB) attracted over 95 of the region's top travel trade companies in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. With 35 new islands up for resort development, the Maldives looks set to grow as the destination of choice for GCC travellers. “We were delighted with the overwhelming response to the roadshow - it serves to highlight the region's commitment and interest in the Maldives,” said Mohamed Adam, assistant director, MTPB, who headed the event alongside Najumulla Shareef, assistant marketing officer, MTPB and representatives from Crown Tours and Capital Travel and Tours.

Easier Australia visas
CITIZENS of Bahrain, the UAE, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait can now acquire visas to travel to Australia without having to obtain a label stamp on their passports. They can also apply for their Australian visas online and have them processed without having to send their passports to the nearest consulate-general, it was announced.
Once the visa is granted, the visitor's name is automatically entered into Australia's immigration authorities' system. “This means that when the visa is approved, it is already entered into the system so a visitor granted that visa and headed to Australia will only need to show up at the airport with his or her airline tickets and passport,” said Tourism Australia distribution development manager Andrew Oldfield.
The move is expected to reduce visa processing time. Details can also be found on In the past five years, the number of visitor visa applications received from residents in the Gulf has almost doubled to more than 20,000 last year.

New Dh80m Emirates Holidays HQ
EMIRATES’ Destination & Leisure Management (D&LM) Division is embarking on a major expansion of its Dubai headquarters to meet surging demand. A new 10-storey extension to the four-storey Emirates Holidays headquarters on Sheikh Zayed Road will create an office complex housing more than 1,000 staff of the division’s four specialised operations: outbound tour operator Emirates Holidays, Dubai destination management company Arabian Adventures, conventions organiser Congress Solutions Dubai and the recently-formed Emirates Hotels & Resorts. The new division headquarters, to be built at a cost of Dh80 million, ($21.8 million) brings the total investment of Emirates’ D&LM Division in new property projects over the next four years to Dh2.4 billion. This includes the 77-storied twin tower Emirates Park Towers hotel complex, and Emirates Marina Serviced Apartments & Spa.

Simplified travel for Amman
THE International Air Transport Association (IATA), Royal Jordanian and the Jordanian Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) have announced an agreement to introduce common use self service check-in (CUSS) and industry standard bar coded boarding passes (BCBP) at Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA). Both are key elements of IATA’s Simplifying the Business programme, a five-project initiative designed to make travel more convenient and reduce industry costs by $6.5 billion annually.

Nats to design World Central airspace
THE UK's National Air Traffic Services (Nats) has announced that it has won a contract to design airspace for traffic around Dubai's planned $33-billion Jebel Ali airport. Nats, which is responsible for managing Britain’s air traffic control, said in a statement work on the contract to design military and civil terminal airspace around the planned airport would start this month. Nats, which is 49 per cent owned by the UK government, declined to put a value on the contract.

Dubai skyline to get Starck relief
IN a major development that ‘raises the bar’ for property and real estate in the Middle East, Galadari Investment Office (GIO) has announced a collaboration with YOO (a design company owned by Philippe Starck and John Hitchcox) to develop residential properties in Dubai. For the first step of this audacious association, Yoo will provide complete concept design for the interiors of G-Tower (right), GIO’s premium residential development. Philippe Starck, arguably one of the world’s most famous living designers, will design all the apartments, amenity spaces and pool area in the tower. YOO’s creative team includes Philippe Starck and Jade Jagger, who is also creative director for royal jewellers Garrard.