In Brief


Dubai Airport caters to special-needs
THE Department of Civil Aviation, Dubai has recently set a dedicated cross- functional team to work on enhancing the airport services for passengers with special needs.

The Reaya (Cares) Team works to ensure continuous enhancement of DIA’s services for special-needs passengers, says the DCA’s Jamal Al Hai. A new Airport Operations Data Management Center has been inaugurated at Dubai International Airport, to take care of the collection, storage, accuracy checking and distribution of airport operational data.

UNWTO, OTA to reduce digital divide
THE World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the OpenTravelT Alliance (OTA) - the business leaders framework for information and communications technologies (ICT) standards in the sector, have joined forces to strengthen the common language for electronic travel interactions. Together, UNWTO and OTA will seek to involve an increasing number of stakeholders and to extend the scope of existing XML standards. They will act as stewards of unified global travel standards/specifications, under WTO’s UN structural umbrella and will strive to create an environment inclusive of other standards bodies and tourism organizations.

Hotel Show supports DEPA awards
THE Hotel Show, organised by dmg world media Dubai Ltd, one of the region’s leading exhibition companies, will support the DEPA Middle East Hotel Awards 2006, which celebrates the exceptional developments and achievements of the Middle East Hotel Industry.  The awards ceremony, to take place at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel on May 3, has attracted entries from more than 200 four and five-star hotels around the region. The Hotel Show takes place from June 4-6, at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre and showcases the very latest equipment, technology and service innovations for the hospitality industry.

Branding Bahrain’s Future
FUTUREBRAND, a global brand consultancy, has recently won several branding contracts in Bahrain. It has rebranded Arcapita Investment Bank, advancing this fast-growing bank with a globally oriented brand, and has also created new brands for the Bahrain World Trade Centre (right), the iconic office towers, and has been charged with creating the brand for its shopping centre, Moda Mall.

$800m deal for TAV, Taisei
TURKISH airport operator TAV and Japan's Taisei have won a contract to build a terminal at Doha airport for $805 million, TAV said. Construction of the building is planned to begin within a month. The Doha project is expected to take 26 months and the terminal will have capacity for 12 million passengers a year. TAV also secured the right to build and operate Ankara’s airport for 189 million euros ($226.3 million) from autumn 2006 and is a partner in a similar project in Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city. In Egypt it is building Cairo airport for $347 million and it is also working on part of Dubai airport.

One Rate for National
NATIONAL Car Rental has launched its unique product, One Rate, offering a single flat vehicle rental rate across the Middle East in US dollars. Customers can also be billed in the local currency of the rental country. One Rate ensures that customers renting vehicles anywhere across the Middle East, will benefit by paying the same price in each country. Its integrated regional systems make it possible to book centrally, and, for larger corporate account users, to operate a one-bill option. One Rate can be booked online at using contract ID 8572160.

Doha medals unveiled
THE medals for the 15th Asian Games Doha 2006 feature the mascot Orry carrying the Asian Games torch high as he runs into the foreground on one side and the Doha 2006 logo inset into the Asian sun on the other. A traditional Qatari pattern is emblazoned on a burgundy ribbon that goes around the winner's neck.

MMI launches new MICE division
MMI Travel, one of Dubai’s leading travel agencies, has launched a new MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) division to cater to the growing market for specialist corporate travel from the UAE. The new division will be managed by Preetham Kiron, manager sales and marketing at MMI Travel and will include a number of dedicated Arabic and English speaking staff. MMI Travel has been organising corporate travel from the UAE for over 15 years and has established a network of worldwide contacts and experience.

Surprises galore at DSS
THE 10 themed weeks of the Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS), from June 21 to September 1, will see Nature Surprises making its debut and Food Surprises with its international cuisine staging a comeback. Dubai is poised for the ninth edition of the annual DSS event which has changed the preconceived notion of summer in the UAE from a sluggish to an exciting season of entertainment. In its first year, the DSS attracted 600,000 visitors who spent Dh850 million, which rose to 1.51 million visitors and Dh 1.72 billion spent in 2005. Children are the focus of the event, themed ‘Big Fun for Little Ones’, and Modhesh, the endearing yellow mascot takes centre stage once more at Modhesh Fun City. For adults, there’s a host of shopping and entertainment opportunities. DSS 2006 opens with the Ice Surprises week on June 21 and continues with the weekly themes including arts, food, adventure, cartoon, knowledge, nature, heritage and back-to-school.
New Abu Dhabi airports company
ABU Dhabi has set up a new company responsible for operating all airports within the emirate as well as expanding aviation infrastructure to meet its rapid development plans. The Abu Dhabi Airports Company is in the process of putting its strategic plan into operation in line with the emirate’s vision to increase the private sector participation in the drive for economic development, a statement said. It will be a public joint stock company (JSC) with a paid up capital of Dh500 million ($136 million), divided into 50 million shares, each with a nominal value of Dh10. The new company will assess the requirements of the airports in order to develop short, medium and long-term strategic plans.