Middle East

Emirates delivered nearly 23,000 hours of medical training for cabin crew and pilots last year as the airline handled more than 60 flight diversions due to medical emergencies. The Dubai-based carrier said while a single flight diversion can cost it anything from $50,000 to over $600,000, the wellbeing of passengers will always come first. Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ executive vice president and chief operating officer, said: “We can never hope to recover the costs of a flight diversion, but ...
A man tried to set himself alight with gasoline beside the Kaaba, the black-clad building towards which the world's Muslims face to pray, inside Makkah's Grand Mosque late on Monday but was arrested before he could do so, police in Saudi Arabia said. "His actions suggest that he is mentally ill," the mosque's police service said in a statement, adding without elaborating that police would take measures to address the incident. Police said the man was in his 40s. A video clip circulating on soc...
State-owned energy company Qatar Petroleum (QP) has joined an international consortium of major US, European and Japanese energy companies to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import project in Pakistan. The consortium, which includes US ExxonMobil, France's Total, Japan's Mitsubishi, and Norway's Hoegh , will develop a project that includes a floating storage and regasification Unit, a jetty and a pipeline to shore to provide natural gas supply to Pakistan, QP said in a statement on Tuesda...
Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) said on Tuesday that the emirate attracted 14.9 million overnight visitors in 2016, up 5 percent on the previous year. Officials said in a statement that they are firmly on track to meet the target of attracting 20 million annual tourists by 2020. Dubai Tourism said the strong performance came despite a "particularly turbulent year" across the world as the city continued to grow its share of outbound travel market despite t...
A planned domestic sukuk issue by oil giant Saudi Aramco is likely to be in the region of 3 to 6 billion riyals ($800 million to $1.6 billion), Saudi Arabia-based debt capital market bankers said on Tuesday. It would be the first sukuk issue by the state entity, which plans to approach the local investor base first and offer US dollar-denominated sukuk to international investors at a later stage, the bankers said, declining to be named because the matter is not yet public. The sukuk are expect...
Amruda Nair is the Joint Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Aiana Hotels & Resorts. In part 1 of our interview, we ask what makes this budding hotel conglomerate unique in region seemingly awash with hotel chains.
Botswana's high court agreed on Tuesday to delay the provisional liquidation of state-owned BCL Mine Ltd after lawyers representing the liquidator KPMG said they had received an offer to buy its mothballed mines, which produce copper and nickel. While the lawyers declined to name the company making the offer, a source close to the process told Reuters a company from the United Arab Emirates had put forward an offer for the three companies under the BCL group. "The minister is currently in the ...
Customs officers at Jeddah's international airport have said they have foiled plans to smuggle more than 2kg on heroin into Saudi Arabia. Officers at King Abdulaziz International Airport foiled six attempts to smuggle a total of 2.223kg of heroin found hidden on three people arriving in the Gulf kingdom, Saudi Press Agency reported. Abdulaziz Bandar Al-Ruhaili, director general of customs at King Abdulaziz International Airport, said officers also foiled an attempt to smuggle 24,674 captagon p...
Qatar is committed to its investment in Volkswagen, Hessa al-Jaber, Qatar's representative on the carmaker's supervisory board, said on Tuesday. "I believe VW is a great company. When we invested in VW, that was the right decision. We are really committed to VW," Jaber told reporters in her first public statement on the company since she joined the board last year. On the diesel emissions test-cheating scandal that hit Volkswagen last year, she said: "They are taking steps to mitigate any futu...
The company behind the popular photo and video app Snapchat has opened its first Middle East office in Dubai to target regional markets. Snap Inc has taken space in Dubai Internet City with the office headed by general manager Hussein Freijeh, who was previously with Yahoo-Maktoob, according to local reports. Snap has expanded to the region to primarily work with advertisers and local partners in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, it said. Snapchat, which was first launched in 2011 as Picaboo, current...
Qatar National Bank (QNB) has dismissed recent economic growth forecasts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as “over-optimistic” and says the figure is likely to be revised downwards in future. In a statement, the bank said it disagreed with the IMF’s latest forecasts of 3.4 percent global growth for 2017. It said: “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) kept its forecasts for global growth in 2017 unchanged at 3.4 percent in the latest update of its World Economic Outlook. “...
Dubai Financial Market (DFM), the Gulf's only listed stock exchange, reported a 3 percent fall in full-year net profit for 2016 on Monday. The company said in a statement that it made a net profit of AED253.5 million for the year, compared to AED261 million in 2015. It said that total revenues reached AED439.3 million in 2016, down from AED451 million in the previous year. During the fourth quarter of 2016, revenue increased 89 percent to AED131.2 million while net profit increased 406 percen...
Muscat's Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, has revealed plans for extensive restorations, which are set to start soon and be completed by early 2018. Creative design firm WATG and its interior design studio, Wimberly Interiors have been appointed to oversee the multi-phase transformation, a statement said. The revamp includes a complete refreshment of the 200 guest rooms and 50 suites, as well as the resort’s main guest arrival porte cochere, meetings and events spaces, lobby lounge, g...
Singapore Exchange has held talks with Saudi Aramco on a secondary listing, two sources familiar with the matter said on Monday, after the oil and gas company suggested last week it would likely simultaneously list on more than one exchange. The planned listing next year of up to 5 percent of Aramco is expected to be the world's biggest initial public offer (IPO). Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said last week the company was evaluating concurrent listings on more than one exchange. The ...
Safarak, a new luxury destination management company has been officially launched in Ras Al Khaimah as part of the emirate's to boost tourism. Offering a range of carefully crafted sightseeing tours, customised luxury journeys, airport transfer and shuttle services, Safarak, means ‘Your Travel’ in Arabic. It is the latest addition to RAK Hospitality Logistics, which aims to provide tailored services to the hospitality and leisure sectors. According to Ghada Sfeir, operations manager of RA...
Dubai is finalising a $3 billion, seven-year syndicated loan needed to back the expansion of Al Maktoum International Airport and plans to sign the facility over the next few weeks, banking sources familiar with the situation said on Monday. The airport expansion is one of three major infrastructure projects that the government of Dubai is backing with debt funding, together with the building of Dubai’s Expo 2020 exhibition site, estimated to require a total of about $7 billion, and an extens...
The Rezidor Hotel Group has announced the signing of two new Radisson Blu hotels in Dubai, to be located in International Media Production Zone (IMPZ) and Dubai Studio City. The new signings have been made in partnership with Bin Haider Group and follow Rezidor’s recent announcement that it will open 14 new hotels in the UAE by 2019. This is part of the company's expansion plans to have 100 hotels and 20,000 rooms in operation by 2020 across the Middle East, Rezidor said in a statement. Eli...
The UAE’s economic growth is expected to pick up in 2017 to reach 2.5 percent, but delayed payments are up 4 percent due to lack of bank funding, a report has claimed. All GCC economies recorded a sharp slowdown in 2016 amid public spending cuts, tightening liquidity and investor uncertainty. Kuwait was the only GCC state not to see economic contraction last year, according to credit management company Coface. However, the UAE is in a stronger position than other countries in the region due ...
National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and First Gulf Bank (FGB) have picked the second level management team for the combined entity to be created through their merger, sources told Reuters on Monday. In October the two Abu Dhabi lenders said they had appointed the top level management team to run the combined bank, set to be one of the largest in the Middle East and Africa with assets of around $175 billion. Around 70 senior positions have now been filled at what the bank calls the N-2 level, sou...
The UAE Cabinet has approved an integrated entry visa scheme to attract more qualified and highly talented professionals to the country, state news agency WAM reported. The implementation of the new system will be carried out over a number of phases, with the first phase including tourism, health and educational visas. The second phase will include talents acquisition in health, scientific, research, technical and cultural fields, WAM said. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Ministe...