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UAE invests Dhs85b in airport expansion
by a staff reporter July 09, 2018
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DUBAI: Dubai will host the first Global Investment in Aviation Summit (GIAS) – a major aviation conference – to be attended by the world’s 500 top aviation finance, aviation asset managers, aircraft lessors, investors, airlines, aircraft manufacturers, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities, aviation logistics suppliers, fixed-base operators (FBOs), as the UAE emerges as the region’s biggest aviation hubs.

The three-day aviation investment conference will take place as the UAE authorities are investing Dhs85 billion ($23.16 billion) in airport development and expansion that will see its airports handle develop combined capacity to handle more than 300 million passengers per year.

The high-profile delegates from 40 countries will include 20 Aviation Ambassadors, 10 Knowledge Partners, 200 Aviation Officials and 300 Investors brainstorming throughout the three days.

These include Dhs30 billion ($8 billion) in developing Al Maktoum International Airport, Dh28 billion ($7.6 billion) expansion of the Phase IV of Dubai International Airport, Dhs25 billion ($6.8 billion) re-development and expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport – many of which are supported by the banks and financial institutions.


In addition Sharjah International Airport is also undergoing a Dh1.5 billion investment in expansion of its terminal.

The UAE has 14 airports, air strips and airfields served by 113 airlines with a total annual take-off and landings exceeding 540,000.

In addition to these, the four UAE airlines are also investing billions of dollars in acquiring the latest aircraft models that will help the UAE economy to grow. All these developments need funding and the financial institutions and investors are also expanding their capabilities to support the economic growth.

“I am delighted to be here today as we prepare for the Global Investment in Aviation Summit. This summit is very close to UAE’s heart, as we have much to be proud of as a nation, from our humble aviation beginnings to now one of the biggest passenger hubs in the world,” Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), said. “Our airlines and airports have been ranking consistently as among the best internationally.

On compliance level, UAE ranked as a top member state of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.


“The Global Investment in Aviation Summit is UAE’s testament on how far we have achieved and of our commitment to push the nation to be a global pioneer in this field. The glass ceiling is not too high to break as we have mounted unimaginable innovations.

“Yet, looking forward, we know that we can still do more. In fact, conservatively, we anticipate accommodating 118 million passengers by 2023 at the Dubai International Airport, and 120 million passengers upon completion of phase 2 of the Dubai World Central, and 200 million passengers upon its completion, all in ultra-modern infrastructures that match, if not surpass, the best in the world.”

The three-day international summit of the aviation leaders will be held from January 27-29, 2019. The summit is held at a time when the region’s aviation industry rides high on efficiency and performance. Emirates Group posted a profit of Dh4.1 billion (US$1.1 billion) for the financial year ended 31 March 2018, up 67 percent from the previous year.

The combined fleet size of the four UAE airlines reached 502, including Emirates fleet of 268, Etihad Airways’ 120, FlyDubai’s 61 and Air Arabia’s 53. The UAE airlines add between 4-5 aircraft per month and the total combined fleet size of the UAE’s four airlines would cross 525 by the end of 2018. The UAE airlines have more than 300 more aircraft on order to join their fleets.

New aircraft

“The UAE is the largest airline market and aviation hub in the Middle East and North Africa and it is still the most vibrant market where the airlines are adding new aircraft every month to their fleet,” Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi said.

“Not only as the country hosting the largest combined aircraft fleet, the UAE has also joined the global aircraft manufacturing supply chain management with Strata manufacturing aircraft components for both Boeing and Airbus.

“Dubai South – the largest aviation hub – is also developing aviation, airline and aviation-related industries and institutions, that will help the region develop new technical and research capabilities that will help the global aviation industry.

Great opportunity

“With the growing industry that also needs continuous investment, it is befitting for the UAE to host the Global Investment in Aviation Summit – where industry leaders could network, assess and do business deals for developing new capabilities for the aviation industry.”

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