Middle East Business Review

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The United Arab Emirates has been ranked fifth in the world in terms of government spending efficiency in the 2011-12 Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum. The report highlighted the UAE’s efficient and transparent performance in terms of government spending during this year which helped it climb two positions from last year’s ranking. ?Our ranking proves that the global community has recognised our competitiveness and achievements on an international scale. It is a clear sign of appreciation for the UAE?s efforts in increasing government efficiency,? Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, said in a statement.

Etihad Airways has signed a codeshare agreement with Hainan Airlines of China that will facilitate flights between Abu Dhabi and Chinese gateway cities of Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai. “Working with a major player like Hainan Airlines will increase Chinese passenger numbers on our China-Abu Dhabi services and beyond to popular destinations in Africa, Middle East and Europe. We look forward to expanding the relationship to include more destinations over time,” James Hogan, chief executive officer of Etihad Airways, said about the codeshare agreement.

Meanwhile, Emirates is upping its flights to Heathrow to four times daily using Airbus A380 aircraft from 25 March next year. The Dubai flag carrier already announced that it will start its third daily super jumbo flight to UK’s most busiest airport from 24 January next year. ?This demonstrates the beauty of the A380 ? its ability to increase our service to our passengers in style, and without adding traffic to London Heathrow,? said Salem Obaidalla, Emirates? senior VP of commercial operations for Europe and the Russian Federation.

On the other hand, Dubai’s budget airline said it is in talks with Boeing and Airbus to acquire new aircraft to expand its fleet and connect Dubai with other regional hubs. Flydubai signed an agreement with Boeing for 50 737 jets at Farnborough Airshow in 2008, of which 20 have already been delivered. The remaining 30 are expected to be delivered by 2016. ?We are very much interested in both the 737 MAX and the A320neo. Both of these developments? will be critical to the low-cost sector in terms of lowering operating costs, especially related to fuel, and passing those savings onto passengers,? Flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said in an interview.

Geant hypermarkets will open five stores in Qatar and Oman over the next three years under an agreement between French retail giant Casino and Al Meera Consumer Goods Co. ?The initial focus is on bigger stores, and then it will be up to Al Meera how they want to expand [after that],? Retail Arabia, the master franchise-holder for Geant in the GCC said in a statement.

The Carlyle Group said it has bought 42 per cent stake in Alamar Foods, a Saudi company that operates Domino’s Pizza and Wendy’s restaurants in the Middle East, in an undisclosed deal. Kingdom’s Al Jammaz family will retain a majority stake in the company which operates 176 Domino’s restaurants in 11 countries across Middle East and North Africa.

Royal Jordanian Airlines, national flag carrier of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, marked it 48th anniversary Thursday, 15 December at a simple ceremony in Amman, Jordan. The airline was launched by King Hussein in 1963 with an aim to create better ties with the world and develop the almost landlocked Arab country’s economy and communication infrastructure. Airline President/CEO Hussein Dabbas said on this occasion that the airline’s history is full of great accomplishments achieved over the past five decades from the monarchy and assured that the national carrier of Jordan will continue to function as a modern, developed airline, capable of reflecting the bright image of the country to the world.

Dutch company U-Boat Worx is targeting Gulf’s wealthiest residents with its range of private submarines starting from at least $1 million. UBW handout said the vessels can dive to a depth of up to 100m with larger crafts able to seat up to three people under a transparent hull. Passengers can get very close to sea life and coral reefs in dives that can last up to six hours, the company statement added.

(By Moign Khawaja – Chief Editor, Arabian Gazette)

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