Dubai mall plans $273m expansion

Updated 10 September 2013

Dubai mall plans $273m expansion

DUBAI: Dubai's Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) will spend about one billion dirhams ($272.3 million) expanding one of the emirate's largest malls, which houses an indoor ski slope, in a further sign of a revival in its retail and tourism market.
Dubai is seen as a safe haven amid regional unrest that began with the Arab Spring in 2010, helping the emirate attract more visitors to its luxury shopping malls.
Dubai attracted 5.5 million tourists in the first half of 2013, a 11.1 percent increase on the year, the emirate's tourism department said in July. Its airport aims to overtake London's Heathrow as the world's biggest airport by passengers by 2020.
Mall of the Emirates will be redeveloped to include a new fashion district, luxury retail, and sports and leisure precinct, MAF, the operators of Carrefour stores in the Middle East, said in a statement.
The mall is one of the key attractions in Dubai as it houses the only indoor ski resort in the region.
It was the largest indoor ski park in the world when it was launched in 2005 and was promoted as an attraction for tourists and residents during the hot summer months in the Gulf state.
Phase one of the expansion has already begun, which is a new 100-million-dirham district dedicated to contemporary fashion, the statement said.
The mall was last expanded in 2010 to include more fashion outlets.
MAF has been on an aggressive expansion drive and bought the remaining 25 percent from Carrefour in its a Middle East joint venture in May.
The company plans to raise a $1.5 billion loan to refinance its debt, sources said last week.
Earlier this year Dubai Mall, the world largest mall owned by property developer Emaar Properties, announced plans to expand the mall by another 1 million square feet in the first phase.


Saudi female student pilot aims high with flying ambitions

Updated 19 November 2019

Saudi female student pilot aims high with flying ambitions

  • Amirah Al-Saif is among the first batch of 49 female students

DUBAI: Saudi women aiming to emulate Yasmeen Al-Maimani’s feat, the Kingdom’s first female commercial pilot, now have that opportunity as Oxford Aviation Academy has opened its doors for them to take flying lessons and earn their licenses.

One those women raring to earn her pilot wings is 19-year-old Amirah Al-Saif, who enrolled in the aviation academy to fulfill her dream of flying for the Kingdom’s national carrier Saudi Airlines (Saudia).

“They have been very supportive of us females,” Al-Saif, who hails from Riyadh, told Arab News at the sidelines of the Dubai Airshow, when asked about her experience at the academy.

Al-Saif is among the first batch of 49 female students, with six of them already in ground school, expected to receive their licenses by the start of 2021 after a grueling course that requires them to first learn English, Mathematics, Physics and other basic knowledge subjects.

She is also the first in the family to have an interest in the aviation industry.

Student pilot Amirah Al-Saif, right, who hails from Riyadh, is the first in the family to have an interest in the aviation industry. (Supplied)

Those who pass the foundation program can then move on to ground school for practical lessons and ideally graduate in two years with three licenses: the Private Pilot License, Instrument Rating and Commercial Pilot License.

Al-Saif considers herself lucky since she was not constrained take courses abroad for her pilot training, unlike Al-Maimani who had to leave the Kingdom to receive her license, as well as wait for a long time before being eventually hired by Nesma Airlines.

The flying school is located at the King Fahd International Airport in Dammam and is an authorized branch of Oxford Aviation Academy based in the UK.

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