Air India plans more UAE, Qatar flights as FIFA World Cup frenzy picks up

Air India plans more UAE, Qatar flights as FIFA World Cup frenzy picks up
Air India is currently operating 69 weekly flights to Dubai. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 11 August 2022

Air India plans more UAE, Qatar flights as FIFA World Cup frenzy picks up

Air India plans more UAE, Qatar flights as FIFA World Cup frenzy picks up
  • About 1.5 million fans are expected to arrive in Qatar for the world’s biggest football tournament

DUBAI: Tata-owned Air India plans to offer more flights to the UAE and Qatar as the FIFA World Cup frenzy culminates with the opening of the quadrennial football event in November, UAE daily Gulf News reported.

About 1.5 million fans are expected to arrive in Qatar for the world’s biggest football tournament.

The carrier said it will add four weekly flights between Dubai and Kolkata once the winter schedule starts Oct. 22.

Air India will deploy its Airbus A320Neo single-aisle aircraft, which has a capacity of 12 business-class seats and 150 economy seats.

It is currently operating 69 weekly flights to Dubai.

Additional frequencies to Qatar meanwhile could be determined later this month when flight slots to the World Cup host become clearer.

Air India is currently selling discounted one-way flight fares for passengers departing from its Gulf network to celebrate India’s 75th Independence Day. These seats are available until Aug. 21 on a limited basis and are valid for travel until Oct. 15 this year.

India’s aviation authority meanwhile is lifting the caps on air fares in the country from Aug. 31 as the domestic segment continues its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“After review of the current status of scheduled domestic operations viz-a-viz passenger demand for air travel… it has been decided to remove the fare bands notified from time to time regarding airfares with effect from 31.08.2022,” Satyendra Kumar Mishra, joint secretary for civil aviation ministry, said in his order issued on Wednesday.

“The airlines/operators shall, however, ensure that the guidelines to contain the spread of COVID-19 are strictly adhered to and COVID-19 appropriate behavior is strictly enforced by them during the travel,” he added.

The limits on capacity and fares were imposed in May 2020, as air travel was reopened after a nationwide lockdown, mainly to prevent a spike in ticket prices due to increased demand for flights as movement restrictions were eased.

Under the existing policy, tickets sold in 0-15 days on a rolling basis must be priced within the minimum and maximum band, although airlines are free to set their own fares for journeys beyond 15 days.


UAE In-Focus — Hospitality market set to expand by 25% by 2030; Dubai to announce hydrogen strategy soon

UAE In-Focus —  Hospitality market set to expand by 25% by 2030; Dubai to announce hydrogen strategy soon
Updated 19 sec ago

UAE In-Focus — Hospitality market set to expand by 25% by 2030; Dubai to announce hydrogen strategy soon

UAE In-Focus —  Hospitality market set to expand by 25% by 2030; Dubai to announce hydrogen strategy soon

DUBAI: The UAE’s hospitality market is set to expand by 25 percent by 2030, with a further 48,000 rooms adding to the nation’s extensive 200,000 key portfolio, according to a study conducted by Knight Frank.

The global property consultancy said in its report that Dubai will account for the lion’s share of these new rooms, with 76 percent coming to the emirate, which already boasts more than 130,000 rooms.

“The emirate has cemented its status as a city with universal appeal, in large part to the world-leading government response to the pandemic and some of the world’s most visited and incredible attractions,” Faisal Durrani, partner and head of Middle East Research at Knight Frank said.

It is estimated that the hotel room supply will cost approximately 117.5 billion dirhams ($32 billion).

Dubai develops hydrogen strategy

Dubai will soon unveil its green hydrogen strategy, MEED reported quoting the managing director of the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority as saying.

Saeed Mohammed Al-Tayer made the revelation at a press conference held to announce the World Green Economy Summit on Sept. 28-29.

Rental market

The Dubai Land Department has signed a memorandum of understanding with Dubai Chambers to enhance the emirate’s rental market’s investment environment, according to Dubai Media Office.

As a result of the MoU, Dubai Chambers will be able to offer real estate and office space to business councils and groups.

It will also facilitate market research and joint training workshops related to the rental sector in Dubai.

In a statement, Abdul Aziz Al-Ghurair, chairman of Dubai Chambers, said the partnership complements Dubai Chambers’ 2022-2024 strategy and the ongoing efforts to boost confidence in the real estate sector, which remains a key contributor to the emirate’s economy.

A constructive dialogue between the public and private sectors is essential to Dubai’s sustainable economic growth and development, he said.

 


Saudi Arabia agrees to fund $63m Senegal road project

Saudi Arabia agrees to fund $63m Senegal road project
Updated 32 min 13 sec ago

Saudi Arabia agrees to fund $63m Senegal road project

Saudi Arabia agrees to fund $63m Senegal road project

RIYADH: The Saudi Fund for Development is pumping $63 million into a coastal road project in Senegal, it has been announced.

The agreement with the African country will see the construction of a 12 km, two-lane highway in Dakar.

The project will also contribute to raising the level of road safety, meeting the needs of residents of cities and villages, and reducing the rates of injuries and deaths resulting from traffic accidents.

The move is the latest cash injection the Saudi Fund for Development into Senegal, having previously financed 27 loans to contribute to 25 projects and programs, with a value of about $447 million.

It has also awarded grants worth $19 million in the sectors of transportation, transportation, infrastructure, health, housing, urban development, energy, education, water and sanitation.

In August, the Fund signed an agreement with the Cameroonian government to finance the construction of the Mbalmayo Regional Hospital Project, by providing a soft development loan of $12 million.

The agreement was signed by SFD CEO Sultan Al-Marshad, and the Cameroonian Minister of Economy, Planning, and Regional Development, Alamine Ousmane Mey.

The agreement will help to build and equip the hospital with 200 beds and develop specialized medical departments, centers, and buildings spanning a total area of 14,000 sq. meters. 

The development plan also comprises rehabilitating the roads that connect the hospital to the main roads to ensure easy access.


Kuwait Central Bank appoints Sahar Al-Rumaih as its first female deputy governor 

Kuwait Central Bank appoints Sahar Al-Rumaih as its first female deputy governor 
Updated 27 September 2022

Kuwait Central Bank appoints Sahar Al-Rumaih as its first female deputy governor 

Kuwait Central Bank appoints Sahar Al-Rumaih as its first female deputy governor 

RIYADH: The Central Bank of Kuwait has named Sahar Al-Rumaih as its deputy governor in a first-ever such appointment of a woman to this position in the Gulf state.

Al-Rumaih, who was the deputy CEO for corporate banking at Ahli Bank of Kuwait, replaced Yousef Al-Obaid as his term had expired, according to Bloomberg. 

With this new appointment, the central bank’s board now includes two women. 

This comes following a similar development in Saudi Arabia in June when the Kingdom’s Central Bank named Sheila Al-Rowaily, who worked as a financier with Saudi Aramco, as its first woman board of directors. 

In recent years, Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 has focused on women’s empowerment and workforce, with efforts directed towards increasing female employment in diplomatic and governmental services. 

Women joining the workforce in Saudi Arabia has been a key development of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 social and economic reforms, which has seen their participation jump from 19 percent in 2016 to 33 percent last year.


Fed hike continues to harm major global currencies

Fed hike continues to harm major global currencies
Updated 8 min 41 sec ago

Fed hike continues to harm major global currencies

Fed hike continues to harm major global currencies

RIYADH: The US Federal Reserve’s most aggressive interest hikes since the 1980s have pulled several currencies across the world to new lows.

On Sept. 21, the US Federal Reserve hiked the short-term interest rates by 75 basis points to 3 to 3.25 percent.

Since the announcement, several investors took their money out of other markets to invest in the US, thus pulling global financial markets to a state of volatility.

The Chinese onshore yuan is sliding toward 7.2 per dollar, down 10.9 percent from the same date last year, while the People’s Bank of China is setting up defenses to protect the currency, according to Reuters data.

On Sept. 26, the Indian rupee plunged 8.7 percent year-to-date to an all-time low of 81.67 against the US dollar.

Soon after the Fed hike, the British pound started falling, and it reached an all-time low on Sept. 26 before showing signs of recovery. The fall of the British pound is also due to the tax cuts announced by the new Liz Truss government.

At one point on Monday, the pound sank as low as $1.0327, surpassing the previous record low reached in 1985, before recovering some of its value. 

The Pakistan rupee also nosedived following the Fed hike, with one US dollar now equal to 233.79 Pakistani rupees.

Other major currencies like the Egyptian pound and the Australian dollar fell 19.5 percent and 11.1 percent year-to-date respectively.

Meanwhile, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said on Tuesday the Federal Reserve will need to raise interest rates to a range between 4.50 percent and 4.75 percent.

Saudi Arabia has a fixed exchange rate regime, with a dollar peg.

The spot dollar/riyal exchange rate has remained unchanged at 3.75 since June 1986, as the Saudi Central Bank provides dollars to the domestic banks to meet the commercial and financial demand of the private sector.


Riyad REIT Fund invests $17m in private real estate fund

Riyad REIT Fund invests $17m in private real estate fund
Updated 27 September 2022

Riyad REIT Fund invests $17m in private real estate fund

Riyad REIT Fund invests $17m in private real estate fund

RIYADH: Riyad REIT Fund has invested SR62 million ($17 million) in a private closed-end real estate fund that is income-generating and Shariah-compliant, according to a bourse filing.

The private fund, which is managed by Riyad Capital, seeks to achieve stable current income and long-term capital growth by investing in top-tier institutional real estate assets located in prime Saudi Arabian locations.

The private real estate fund has a target size of SR3 billion, and the initial closing amount is SR315 million.

The fund has a term of 20 years that can be extended for an additional five years.

The investment will generate 8.5 percent per year in return over a five-year period if it is invested semi-annually, it added.