UAE’s flydubai to have all 14 737 MAX jets in service by June

UAE’s flydubai to have all 14 737 MAX jets in service by June
A Boeing 737 MAX aircraft bearing the logo of flydubai is parked at a Boeing production facility in Renton. (Reuters)
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Updated 06 April 2021

UAE’s flydubai to have all 14 737 MAX jets in service by June

UAE’s flydubai to have all 14 737 MAX jets in service by June
  • 14 planes back in service by first week in June
  • Regulators worldwide grounded the 737 in March 2019

DUBAI: United Arab Emirates’ flydubai expects to have all of its 14 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft back in service by the first week of June, the airline’s head of maintenance said on Tuesday.
Resuming 737 MAX flights this Thursday with a service to Sialkot in Pakistan, the airline has cleared five of those jets to return to service after a two-year grounding.
“You can rest assured we have every confidence in this aircraft,” Head of Maintenance Andrew Glover told an online press briefing.
Regulators worldwide grounded the 737 in March 2019 after two fatal crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed a total of 346 people onboard.
The UAE aviation regulator lifted the ban in February after the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) set out the return to service requirements.
Flydubai said 12 countries on its network had not approved the jet, including Russia and India, and that it would only operate flights to and over countries that had lifted the ban.
Initially, the aircraft would be used to fly to destinations close to its hub, like Pakistan, it said.
Flydubai Senior Vice President, Flight Operations Captain Patrick Gonzenbach said 233 pilots had completed the additional training and were ready to resume 737 MAX flights.
Its remaining 522 pilots are expected to receive the additional training by the end of the year, he said.
Flydubai, which has been flying older variants of the 737 planes since starting operations in 2009, has ordered a total of 251 737 MAX jets, including the 14 already delivered.
The airline, which last year reached an interim confidential compensation agreement with Boeing over the grounding, declined on Tuesday on comment on future 737 MAX deliveries.
Head of maintenance Glover said older model 737 NGs would remain part of the fleet for the next 8-10 years but would eventually be replaced by MAX jets.


Qatar steps up help for businesses battling pandemic

Qatar steps up help for businesses battling pandemic
Updated 46 min 24 sec ago

Qatar steps up help for businesses battling pandemic

Qatar steps up help for businesses battling pandemic
  • Central bank liquidity support to local banks has been extended
  • Loan repayment holidays have been extended to 2 years

DUBAI: Qatar’s cabinet on Wednesday agreed to maintain central bank liquidity support for local banks as it stepped up its economic response to the coronavirus pandemic amid a second wave of infections.

Exemptions have been granted from electricity and water fees until the end of September for sectors closed due to the pandemic, Gulf Times reported.

The National Guarantees Programme at Qatar Development Bank has been extended until the end of September, while an exemption from interest under the National Guarantees Programme has been extended by one year to two years, followed by two years of interest at no more than the Qatar Central Bank rate plus 2 percent.

Qatar Central Bank first implemented a series of measures including a freeze on loan repayments and the National Guarantees Programme to provide financing to private-sector companies in March 2020.


A month of Iftars in Lebanon now more than double minimum wage

A month of Iftars in Lebanon now more than double minimum wage
Updated 32 min 15 sec ago

A month of Iftars in Lebanon now more than double minimum wage

A month of Iftars in Lebanon now more than double minimum wage
  • Cost of fattoush salad trebles
  • Collapse of pounds sends prices soaring

BEIRUT: After a year of economic meltdown in Lebanon, Hala Sheikh is sticking to a modest menu as she prepares the evening meal for her family to break their daily Ramadan fast.
Even the humble fattoush, a popular salad that she prepares for dinner, has tripled in cost since last year, leaving millions of Lebanese struggling to put food on the table in the Muslim holy month which is usually a time of celebration.
“We didn’t want to prepare unnecessary stuff,” Sheikh said as she got ready for the first Ramadan meal this week. “We prepared basic things like fattoush, soup and a main course — we will not prepare big meals like last year or the year before.”
A study by the American University of Beirut (AUB), dubbed the “Fattoush Index,” found that the cost of its ingredients — including lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, radish and bread — soared 210 percent in the last 12 months.
For Sheikh, a 50-year-old former nutritionist who moved from the US with her family, prices are a constant concern.
“During this bad economic situation you have to bear in mind the cost of making fattoush,” she said as she prepared the salad in her flat in Beirut’s Hamra district where she lives with her husband and four sons.
“This lettuce I’m cutting costs 3,000 pounds.” After the currency slumped 85 percent, that is worth barely 20 US cents. But in a country where the minimum wage has plunged to around $50 a month, costs quickly spiral.
AUB professor Nasser Yassine said that over the full month of Ramadan the cost of providing the fast-breaking Iftar meal for a family of five had risen to 1.5 million Lebanese pounds, more than double the monthly minimum wage.
It will be hard “for poor families who are below the poverty line and it will also be hard for them to secure and maintain their daily food,” he said.
Yassine’s Fattoush Index may even under-estimate the scale of the problem, with official consumer price data showing the cost of food and non-alcoholic drinks jumped 417 percent in the year to February.
The runaway inflation is part of a broader economic collapse over the last two years which is fueling hunger and unrest, in the country’s gravest crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war.
After decades of mismanagement and corruption, Lebanon’s leaders have failed to break their political deadlock and form a new government to tackle the crisis, which has only worsened with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and a devastating explosion at Beirut’s port in August.
“We witnessed many wars, civil war and the Israeli invasion,” Sheikh said. “But this is the worst Ramadan we have ever been through.”


Deyaar profits rise, sees Dubai property demand growing

Deyaar profits rise, sees Dubai property demand growing
Updated 15 April 2021

Deyaar profits rise, sees Dubai property demand growing

Deyaar profits rise, sees Dubai property demand growing
  • Profit grew on higher demand for Deyaar’s ready and off-plan residential units

DUBAI: Deyaar, one of Dubai’s biggest property developers, reported a rise in first quarter profit, the company said in a statement.

The shares rose 0.8 percent in early trade.

The developer that is majority-owned by Dubai Islamic Bank, reported first quarter net profit of 15.1 million dirhams ($4.1 million)  – up from 2.6 million dirhams from the same period last year.
Sales also rose to 149.2 million dirhams, compared to 98.8 million dirhams in 2020.
Profit grew on higher demand for Deyaar’s ready and off-plan residential units, Saeed Al-Qatami, its CEO said.
"We expect this demand to grow even more with the economic recovery in the emirate and the effort that the government takes towards executing the Dubai Urban Master Plan 2040,” he said.
Deyaar recently handed over its Bella Rose development in Dubai Science Park. It has 478 residential units and 12 shops.
The company also began construction work on the third and fourth phases of its residential Midtown project in Dubai Production City, where it plans to add 11 more buildings.


Qatar may allow 100% foreign ownership of listed companies

Qatar may allow 100% foreign ownership of listed companies
Updated 15 April 2021

Qatar may allow 100% foreign ownership of listed companies

Qatar may allow 100% foreign ownership of listed companies
DUBAI: The Qatari cabinet approved a draft law on Wednesday that would allow non-Qatari investors to own up to 100 percent of the capital of companies listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange, according to a statement on Qatar News Agency.

Should the law be implemented, companies would have to approve increases in foreign ownership on a case-by-case basis, Bloomberg News reported.

Such a change could lead to inflows of about $1.5 billion into listed Qatari companies, with beneficiaries potentially including Qatar Islamic Bank, Masraf Al Rayan and Commercial Bank of Qatar, Bloomberg cited investment bank EFG-Hermes as saying.

Foreign ownership of many Qatari companies currently sits way below the 49 percent limit. Qatar General Insurance had 32 percent foreign ownership as of April 14, Gulf Warehousing 30 percent and Commercial Bank of Qatar 21 percent, Qatar Stock Exchange data shows.

Saudi Arabia dropped its cap on ownership of publicly traded companies by foreign strategic investors in June 2019, while the UAE said in July of the same year it would allow the emirates to set their own foreign-ownership limits.

Qatar eased rules on foreign property ownership in October last year in an attempt to make the sector more attractive to expatriates, foreign investors and real estate funds.

Turkish lira trades flat ahead of central bank rate decision

Turkish lira trades flat ahead of central bank rate decision
Updated 15 April 2021

Turkish lira trades flat ahead of central bank rate decision

Turkish lira trades flat ahead of central bank rate decision
  • Last month, the lira weakened to near its record lows after President Tayyip Erdogan appointed Sahap Kavcioglu as central bank governor

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s lira traded flat against the dollar on Thursday, ahead of the new central bank governor’s first rate decision, where the bank is expected to maintain its policy rate at 19 percent.
The lira stood at 8.0530 against the dollar at 0647 GMT, near Wednesday’s close of 8.0655. Last month, the lira weakened to near its record lows after President Tayyip Erdogan appointed Sahap Kavcioglu as central bank governor, replacing his predecessor in a shock decision.