flydubai prepares for Boeing 737 MAX to rejoin its fleet

flydubai prepares for Boeing 737 MAX  to rejoin its fleet
The UAE announced on Wednesday it has lifted its ban on Boeing’s 737 Max, allowing the plane to return to its skies after being grounded for nearly two years. (AP)
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Updated 19 February 2021

flydubai prepares for Boeing 737 MAX to rejoin its fleet

flydubai prepares for Boeing 737 MAX  to rejoin its fleet
  • Dubai’s budget carrier flydubai is one of the biggest customers of the 737 Max

DUBAI: United Arab Emirates-based carrier flydubai is preparing for the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to rejoin its fleet, the Dubai government’s media office said on Twitter on Thursday.

The United Arab Emirates, a key international travel hub, announced on Wednesday it has lifted its ban on Boeing’s 737 Max, allowing the plane to return to its skies after being grounded for nearly two years following a pair of deadly crashes.
Saif Al-Suwaidi, director general of the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority, said the country gave clearance to the planes “as a result of intensive efforts by the authority’s technical committees,” according to the state-run WAM news agency.
The government ensured all safety conditions had been met after the US Federal Aviation Administration ended the grounding last fall, Al-Suwaidi added, without specifying when flights would resume. It could take some time for airlines to ensure their pilots receive necessary training to fly the planes and to carry out maintenance and all other changes.
The planes were grounded worldwide in March 2019 following the crashes of a Lion Air flight near Jakarta on Oct. 29, 2018, and an Ethiopian Airlines flight on March 10, 2019, which killed a total of 346 people. Investigators have attributed the crashes to a range of problems, including a faulty computer system that pushed the planes’ noses downward in flight until the jets plummeted. The crashes and subsequent revelations about the plane’s failings tainted the company’s reputation and cost it billions of dollars in damages and unfilled orders.

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The UAE’s approval included ‘corrective measures’ applied by airlines operating the planes, particularly ‘modernization’ of software known as MCAS, the flight control system, which was designed to push the plane’s nose down in certain circumstances.

Dubai’s budget carrier flydubai is one of the biggest customers of the 737 Max and stopped flying its Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9s over a government order following the crashes. The Boeing 737 is a workhorse for the airline, which along with long-haul carrier Emirates is owned by the government’s Investment Corporation of Dubai.
The airline later reached an undisclosed financial settlement with Boeing Co. for certain compensation for the grounding of the planes. Boeing lists flydubai as still having 237 unfilled orders for Boeing 737 Max aircraft. The airline’s total fleet is over 50 aircraft.
Al-Suwaidi said the UAE’s approval included “corrective measures” applied by airlines operating the planes, particularly “modernization” of software known as MCAS, the flight control system, which was designed to push the plane’s nose down in certain circumstances. The UAE also will mandate an upgrade of pilot training procedures and readiness tests for all aircraft being returned to service.
The 737 Max returned to American skies last December, after the Federal Aviation Administration approved changes that Boeing made to the automated flight control system. Aviation authorities in Europe, Brazil and Canada have also allowed the aircraft to resume flights in recent weeks.


Saudi Arabia sees 227% surge in wealthy individuals in last 5 years

Saudi Arabia sees 227% surge in wealthy individuals in last 5 years
Updated 30 min 3 sec ago

Saudi Arabia sees 227% surge in wealthy individuals in last 5 years

Saudi Arabia sees 227% surge in wealthy individuals in last 5 years
  • Saudi Arabia bucked Mideast trend, with number of people with over $30m growing in 2020

RIYADH: The number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) — those with $30 million or more — in Saudi Arabia surged 227 percent over the last five years, the fastest growth rate in the world.

According to The Wealth Report by real estate consultancy firm Knight Frank, the number of UHNWIs worldwide will increase by 27 percent in the next five years to 663,483, with the number of millionaires growing by 41 percent.

The report predicts that the number of UHNWIs in the Middle East will rise by 24.6 percent by 2025, with the region expected to remain the fourth-largest wealth hub in the world.

“The pandemic has impacted the fortunes of many in the Middle East, and the Middle Eastern HNWIs and UHNWIs were not spared, with the total number of each decreasing by 11.3 percent and 10.1 percent in 2020 respectively,” said Taimur Khan, head of research at Knight Frank Middle East.

“However, this decline was not uniform across all countries. In Saudi Arabia over this period, the number of UHNWIs increased by 9.6 percent, the 10th fastest growth rate globally. In fact, its UHNW population has grown by 227 percent over the last five years, the fastest growth rate globally over this period,” he added.

“As the region continues its various economic diversification programs, we expect that there will continue to be significant growth in the number of UHNWIs and billionaires residing in the region.”

According to a survey conducted by Knight Frank of private bankers and wealth advisers, half said their clients’ wealth had increased in 2020.

In the Middle East, 67 percent of respondents said their clients’ wealth either remained the same or increased. Sixty-nine percent said they expect their clients’ total wealth to increase in 2021.

The reports found that Asia is likely to see the largest rise in the number of UHNWIs, with growth of 39 percent, led by Indonesia (67 percent) and India (63 percent).

“The US is, and will remain, the world’s dominant wealth hub over our forecast period, but Asia will see the fastest growth in UHNWIs over the next five years. By 2025, Asia will host 24 percent of all UHNWIs, up from 17 percent a decade earlier,” said Liam Bailey, global head of research at Knight Frank.

“The region is already home to more billionaires than any other. China is the key to this phenomenon, with 246 percent forecast growth in very wealthy residents in the decade to 2025.”


UAE telecom du raises foreign ownership limit to 49%

UAE telecom du raises foreign ownership limit to 49%
Updated 24 February 2021

UAE telecom du raises foreign ownership limit to 49%

UAE telecom du raises foreign ownership limit to 49%
  • It said it was expecting “extensive” foreign investment inquiries because of the company’s 2020 financial results

DUBAI: Du Emirates Integrated Telecommunications is raising its foreign ownership limit to 49 percent, the UAE news agency WAM has reported.

The company said UAE nationals – individuals or establishments – can own shares up to a maximum of 100 percent share capital of du, while non-UAE nationals can own up to 49 percent.

It said it was expecting “extensive” foreign investment inquiries because of the company’s 2020 financial results.


Bahrain’s GFH acquires major Chicago distribution centre

Bahrain’s GFH acquires major Chicago distribution centre
Updated 24 February 2021

Bahrain’s GFH acquires major Chicago distribution centre

Bahrain’s GFH acquires major Chicago distribution centre
  • Bahrain group says the transaction is valued at more than $135 million

GFH, the Bahrain-based financial group, says it has acquired a “state-of-the-art” distribution facility in the US city of Chicago, Illinois.

It says the transaction, valued at more than $135 million, marks the continued expansion of GFH’s portfolio in the US and Europe.

“With this transaction, we continue to further our efforts to diversify and expand our portfolio of international, blue-chip real estate assets. This includes new acquisitions of prime properties in strategic geographies for us, including the US,” said Razi Al Merbati, CEO of GFH Capital.

The facility has been leased since November 2015 to blue chip tenant Michelin North America, the global tire company.

Salem Patel, Head of Asset Management, at GFH, said: “This investment is supported by its long-term lease to Michelin NA, a highly reputable tenant and global tire industry giant, which has helped establish and maintain the facility as a state-of-the-art distribution centre.”


Moody’s revises up US and emerging markets forecasts, cuts Europe

Moody’s revises up US and emerging markets forecasts, cuts Europe
Updated 24 February 2021

Moody’s revises up US and emerging markets forecasts, cuts Europe

Moody’s revises up US and emerging markets forecasts, cuts Europe
  • Emerging market growth moved up to 7 percent from 6.1 percent, led by upward revisions to China, India and Mexico

LONDON:Credit ratings firm Moody’s revised upwards on Wednesday its economic forecasts for the year for the United States and emerging markets, but cut Europe’s following the region’s tough COVID-19 lockdowns.
Moody’s pushed up its US growth forecast to 4.7 percent, from the 4.2 percent it had expected in November.
Emerging market growth moved up to 7 percent from 6.1 percent, led by upward revisions to China, India and Mexico, while the euro zone and Britain saw their respective projections cut to 3.7 percent and 4.7 percent, from 4.7 percent and 5.2 percent previously.
“The effects on individual businesses, sectors and regions continue to be uneven, and the COVID-19 crisis will endure as a challenge to the world’s economies well beyond our two-year forecast horizon,” Moody’s said in a report on its new forecasts.


Vodafone’s towers arm plans biggest European IPO of 2021 so far

Vodafone’s towers arm plans biggest European IPO of 2021 so far
Updated 24 February 2021

Vodafone’s towers arm plans biggest European IPO of 2021 so far

Vodafone’s towers arm plans biggest European IPO of 2021 so far
  • Vodafone said on Wednesday it would sell a "meaningful minority" stake to create a liquid market in Vantage Towers' shares

Vantage Towers, the mobile masts company spun out of Vodafone Group, plans to float in Frankfurt by the end of March in a deal that could value it at up to 18 billion euros ($22 billion), making it Europe's largest listing so far this year.
Duesseldorf, Germany-headquartered Vantage operates 82,000 towers across 10 countries, where it is usually the leading or second largest supplier. Germany is its largest market, which is one of the reasons for the venue of the IPO.
Vodafone said on Wednesday it would sell a "meaningful minority" stake to create a liquid market in Vantage Towers' shares. It will use proceeds to cut debt, which totals around 69 billion euros, according to Refinitiv data. No new shares will be sold, meaning Vantage will not make money from the deal.
People familiar with the matter said stock worth about 3 billion euros would be sold, possibly giving the company a valuation of 15-18 billion euros.
That would make Vantage the largest European listing of the year in a busy season that has seen $12 billion Polish firm InPost, $10 billion German used-car trading platform AUTO1 and $5 billion British boot brand Dr. Martens join stock markets.
Vantage would also be Germany's largest listing since energy group Innogy's 20 billion-euro debut in 2016.
Vantage's CEO Vivek Badrinath said growth in data traffic, the roll out of 5G and tougher coverage requirements, for example in Germany and Britain, underpinned its prospects.
"These three factors will drive demand for new tenancies and new tower sites," he said, adding he aimed to increase the average number of mobile operators using each mast from 1.39 more than 1.5.

The value of mobile infrastructure - masts, energy supply and back haul connections - has surged as investors look for secure long-term income.
Vodafone rival Orange launched its own towers unit this month, while Spain's Cellnex, Europe's biggest towers company, is raising 7 billion euros for expansion.
Vantage will also have 1 billion euros of leverage for deals, Badrinath said, and the ability to issue more equity.
Its focus on listing meant it was not in talks at the moment, he said, "but the market is moving, so we expect that there'll be action in the latter part of the year for sure".
Vantage said late last year it expected to report pro forma adjusted core earnings of up to 540 million euros in the financial year to the end of March.
Rivals such as Cellnex, American Tower, Crown Castle and SBA Communications trade at 25-30 times their core earnings.
Vantage said it would pay 60 percent of recurring cash flow in dividends, and it intended to pay out 280 million euros this financial year.
It is on track for a leverage ratio of four times core earnings at the end of March, allowing it to balance investment, acquisitions and returns, it added.
Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and UBS are organising the IPO with the help of Barclays , Berenberg, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank , Goldman Sachs and Jefferies.