In brief

The Dubai Mall

Waterworld planned
A magnificent three-storey aquarium will be part of ‘waterworld’ attractions being planned by Emaar Properties in the giant Dubai Mall project.

“Featuring glass tunnels filled with sharks, sting-rays and other exotic marine life, the Aquarium will give visitors a unique shopping experience,” said Ibrahim Al Hashemi, executive director of Emaar Properties retail and leasing department. The Dubai Mall mall itself will be the largest single shopping space in the world.

Boycott threatened
  Air India and Indian Airlines face the threat of a boycott by Keralites in Bahrain, unless they reduce their fares to Indian destinations. The boycott move follows action taken by Keralites in the UAE, said World Malayalee Council (WMC) Bahrain province general secretary Abraham John. “The UAE-based Indians made a move to boycott both airlines,” he said. “Here in Bahrain, we are waiting for Air India and Indian Airlines to take the initiative. We don’t want any confrontation with them,” he added. The airline has been given a week’s time to respond to this situation, he added.

No marshals 
There are no immediate plans to use armed air marshals on British Airways flights to and from Bahrain and the Middle East, says a senior airline official. “BA policy is to comply with whatever the legislation and government policy is,” said country manager for Bahrain and the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia Richard Hirsch. “The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) is now seeking clarification from the government on what that policy is.”

Points from website
CompanionPoints, the largest smart card loyalty programme in the UAE offering the chance to earn bonus points worth up to 23 per cent of the amount spent, is now available on  The programme has attracted more than 750 partner outlets, covering shopping, restaurants, hotels, retail outlets, clubs, sporting and leisure establishments, travel and other services.  Using smart card technology, bonus points are loaded instantly on the card and can be redeemed for goods by simply presenting the card

Credit card rewards
Standard Chartered Bank, one of the leading banks in the UAE, has launched a first-of-its kind credit card reward programme for its Mastercard and Visa and credit card holders in the Emirates. “The launch of Standard Dollars heralds a new era in consumer rewards for this market. We aim to lead the way in everything we do, and ‘Standard Dollars’ clearly sets a new benchmark for reward schemes,” said Ray Ferguson, UAE Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank.

Skateboard arena opens
Emaar Properties, developers of the Dubai Marina waterfront development, has opened a permanent skateboarding arena at the Marina.  The new arena hosted a special DSF 2004 Skateboarding Challenge on January 23. This will be followed by the Grand Final on February 6. The newly constructed skateboarding arena is at the foot of the Dubai Marina towers.

Dubai ‘among 10 best’
  Austrian Television channel TW1 has categorised Dubai among the 10 best destinations out of the 42 countries participatin g in Ferein 2004, an international tourism exhibition, in Vienna. The channel is covering daily the exhibition focusing on Dubai and its attractions. ‘The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) promotions in the Austrian market have fetched commendable results so far,’ said a top official.

Open skies deal
Lebanon has become the first country to enter a full open skies agreement with Bahrain. A mutual agreement gives the national carriers Gulf Air and Middle East Airlines the right to operate unlimited flights between the two countries and from airports within them to any other countries. The deal also allows the airlines to fly an unlimited number of passengers and to operate an unlimited number of cargo flights, says Bahrain’s Civil Aviation Affairs (CAA).