The top executive at Dubai-based Emirates airline said Monday that he expects that the carrier's Airbus 380 flights will return to New York in the first six months of 2010, because passenger demand should be recovering by then.
The airline started New York service with the double-deck aircraft in April of last year, but pulled it two months later and replaced it with the smaller Boeing 777. Emirates has stretched its network as demand sank in the recession, especially in the U.S.
Dubai properties located across those parts of the emirate made more accessible by the new Dubai Metro, may receive a price boost.
The new rail service will start operation of around 44 trains out of 62 to run on the Red Line when the service is launched on 9 September 2009.
A total of 79 trains will be used on the Red and the Green Lines to carry around 27,000 passengers per hour per direction once the metro is fully operational in March next year.
A senior official at Dubai Metro told the press: “Initially, we will launch operations starting with the capacity of around 6,300 passengers per hour per direction with fewer trains on the track. All the stations are not yet ready but we hope to open 17 to 22 stations out of the total 29.”
The Dubai Metro project, which will become the world's lengthiest driverless scheme, is being completed in a record time of just 49 months. The metro track runs from Al Rashidiya Station to Jebel Ali Free Zone Station.
The UAE’s three international airports stole the global aviation limelight by bucking a severe downturn in the industry with strong passenger traffic growth in 2008, according to data released on Monday by Airports Council International, a trade association of the world’s airports.
The council’s 2008 World Airport Traffic Report showed that Abu Dhabi International Airport was the world’s fastest-growing airport last year, handling 30.2 per cent more passengers than in 2007. Dubai International Airport improved its global ranking for total passenger traffic from to 20th from 27th, with annual growth of nine per cent.
Airline passengers taking the airport taxi from Dubai International Airport to Sharjah have expressed dismay over the costly inter-emirate trip as Dh20 is added to the running bill when the taxi crosses the Dubai-Sharjah border.
Omer Siddiqui, an irate passenger, said by taking a taxi from Dubai International Airport to Sharjah, the fare starts at Dh20 and once it crosses the Dubai border into Sharjah, a Dh20 extra is added to the running bill.
Premnath K. Naik, a 33-year-old customer service agent at the Enoch Petrol Station, said that the imposition of Dh20 flag down for inter-emirate trip has become a burden to expatriate workers, especially those arriving through the Dubai International Airport.
Dubai World Central (DWC) - the 140-square-kilometre aviation and logistics city in Jebel Ali - will open for business in June 2010, the government has reconfirmed.
"Our vision for Dubai is to be an unparalleled global commercial, trade and transportation hub with a unique integrated multi-modal logistics platform in DWC which will change all known air, land and sea transportation parameters," Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation (DACC), who is also president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group, said in a statement.
"Construction on all related infrastructure works is continuing with all our stakeholders recognising the fact that Dubai World Central is a committed Dubai government project; and once the global economic recession tides out its cycle, work towards its final master plan will resume at its original pace."
Mashahoor Afzal pulls his gold-and-white taxi up to the rank at Marina Mall, expecting another passenger to get in.
Instead Jaber al Braiki, an inspector with the taxi regulator TransAD, opens the door and extends his hand.
The two men shake hands and exchange smiles. Things go downhill from there for the Pakistani driver who has lived in Abu Dhabi for 33 years. Asked to produce his taxi permit, Mr Afzal pulls out a blue sheet from his wallet – a permit that expired in 2005.
The driver pleads with the inspector and tells him he has been out of the country for some time. He has to sign for a fine of Dh1,000 (US$372) and could face further punishment later.
The Ras Al Khaimah Transport Authority (RAK TA) has blamed the delay of the internal bus services in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) on the infrastructure problems including poor roads especially in the remote (areas.
Mohammed Yuosuf Esmaeel, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the RAK TA told Khaleej Times recently that the poor roads linking to the various areas of the emirate delayed the introduction of internal buses in RAK that were originally scheduled to start operating in September 2008. The delay in the installation of bus stands by the authorities concerned on various streets of the emirate has also hindered the introduction of buses in Ras (Al Khaimah.
Esmaeel noted that the emirate does not have a proper structure for (bus stops.
“The city bus services have been held back until next year in order to give ample time for the authorities to address the infrastructure problems,” he said. He however noted that arrangements for the inter emirate bus services have been finalised and that the buses will start operating in April including Dubai, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain amongst others.
A senior official of a local company that had been commissioned to launch the bus services in Ras Al Khaimah noted that the addition of new taxis in the emirate last year, also added to the overall delay.
Three new taxi companies including Al Hamra, Cars and Al Arabia Taxi Company with a combined fleet of 1,600 new cabs, were introduced in Ras Al Khaimah in February 2008.
Many RAK commuters did not welcome the new taxis, as they are expensive compared to the old taxis.
The Dubai Taxi Agency is working on a plan to improve the taxi service in the emirate with a focus on increasing dwindling revenues, a senior official has said.
"Our focus now is on the marketing of Dubai Taxi, customer service, driver training, reduction of costs and improving productivity to increase our income," said Abdul Aziz Malek, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Roads and Transport Authority's (RTA) Dubai Taxi Agency.
Malek said that Dubai Taxi would be introduced to other emirates to compete with rival taxi companies. Of Dubai's approximately 7,500 taxis, 3,500 are owned by Dubai Taxi Corporation, a subsidiary of Dubai Taxi Agency. The other 4,000 are owned by six franchised taxi companies.
"So far, we have been operating Dubai Taxi in Dubai only, but we now have plans to introduce it in other emirates to compete with private companies," he said.
Malek said that the agency is concentrating on training drivers in techniques that can increase their revenues.
The number of taxis in Dubai will go up to 10,000 by the year end from the present strength of 8,000, a senior Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) official said.
Yousef Al Madani, Director of Transport Systems Department at the Public Transport Agency said a satellite surveillance system will be in place to help manage the fleet.
“Taxi service is a subject of a rising demand triggered by the urban development and demographic expansion in Dubai. The existing taxi fleet includes more than 8,000 vehicles owned by Dubai Taxi Agency and a host of franchise companies.
A high-capacity metro system complemented by high-speed trains, buses and trams besides ferries and taxis have been envisaged in a surface transport master plan unveiled by the Department of Transport on Wednesday.
"As growth continues, a multi-faceted, multi-modal transport system will be vital to creating a vibrant, sustainable world-class city," said Abdullah Rashid Al Otaiba, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport.
The government, he said, is considering options for meeting future transport needs as the emirate continues to grow at a rapid rate.