UAE In-Focus: DXB set for 2m passengers over holiday season; AD Ports Group inks deal with Kazakh National Oil Co. subsidiary  

UAE In-Focus: DXB set for 2m passengers over holiday season; AD Ports Group inks deal with Kazakh National Oil Co. subsidiary  
Dubai International's average daily passenger numbers are almost at pre-pandemic levels. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 28 December 2022

UAE In-Focus: DXB set for 2m passengers over holiday season; AD Ports Group inks deal with Kazakh National Oil Co. subsidiary  

UAE In-Focus: DXB set for 2m passengers over holiday season; AD Ports Group inks deal with Kazakh National Oil Co. subsidiary  

RIYADH: Dubai International will remain exceptionally busy over the remainder of the holiday season and well into the New Year, with nearly 2 million passengers expected to pass through the airport.  

The airport’s average daily passenger numbers are almost at pre-pandemic levels on the back of strong recovery throughout 2022, making this latest seasonal peak one of the busiest since 2019.  

Over the next eight days starting Dec. 27, nearly 2 million passengers are expected to pass through DXB, with average daily traffic reaching as many as 245,000 passengers. Jan. 2 is expected to be the busiest day with traffic exceeding 257,000 passengers.  

December has been very busy for the international airport due to a combination of factors including the seasonal influx of visitors, the recently concluded World Cup football event in Doha, and the strength of Dubai’s position as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.  

AD Ports Group signs deal with Kazakh oil firm  

AD Ports Group has signed a shareholder agreement with KMTF, a fully owned offshore logistics and services subsidiary of the Kazakh National Oil Co., to launch an exclusive joint venture, 51 percent owned by AD Ports Group and 49 percent owned by KMTF. 

The joint venture will provide offshore and shipping services for energy companies in the Caspian Sea.

The two parties have also signed an agreement to pool tanker resources. 

The joint venture will offer a broad range of services, including offshore support vessels, integrated offshore logistics, and subsea solutions.  

At a later stage, it will also offer container feedering, ro-ro and crude oil transportation in the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. 

The enterprise will tender for a number of identified projects with estimated maritime contract values of more than $780 million.  

By combining AD Ports Group’s diverse portfolio of global maritime services and shallow water offshore expertise with the strong fleet, track record and local knowledge of KMTF, the joint venture will create an essential new entrant in the highly valued Caspian Sea and the Black Sea region.  

Falah Mohammed Al-Ahbabi, chairman of AD Ports Group, said that this new joint venture with KMTF opens the door to enormous opportunities in the Caspian Sea, which plays a key role in global energy production.  

Zimbabwe Business Council established 

Dubai Chamber of Commerce has announced the establishment of the Zimbabwean Business Council to promote the commercial interests of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwean businesses in the emirate. The business council also aims to promote Zimbabwe-owned UAE-registered companies as well as their goods and services in the UAE.  

The launch of the council is in line with the chamber’s plans to establish new country-specific business councils and expand their roles to boost Dubai’s foreign trade and promote cross-border business opportunities for member companies.  

Bilateral trade between the UAE and Zimbabwe witnessed strong growth between 2019 and 2021. The UAE’s imports from Zimbabwe reached $2.3 billion in 2021 compared to $1.5 billion in 2020 and $904 million in 2019, while the UAE exports to Zimbabwe accounted for $209 million in 2021.  

GCA publishes vertiports regulations  

The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority has published the world’s first national regulation related to vertiports to support rapid developments and continued worldwide investment in the UAE’s highly progressive and competitive aviation industry.  

The regulation covers the design and operational requirements of vertiports while ensuring a regulatory environment that supports the efficient and safe operation of vertical take-off and landing aircraft.  

The proposed amendments of the new draft regulation have been released for industry consultation, and it will be published later in its final version in the first quarter of 2023.  

The rapid and increasing development of electrical vertical take-off and landing aircraft has created an imperative for infrastructure, networks, and regulatory approaches.  


Dubai’s government and private sector discuss common vision for the future at landmark event

Dubai’s government and private sector discuss common vision for the future at landmark event
Updated 24 sec ago

Dubai’s government and private sector discuss common vision for the future at landmark event

Dubai’s government and private sector discuss common vision for the future at landmark event

RIYADH: Representatives of Dubai’s government and private sectors are set to discuss developing a common vision for the future of the emirate at a three-day event starting on Feb. 6.

Organized by the Executive Council of Dubai, the Innovation Talks series will include substantial sessions and knowledge seminars delivered by government and private sector officials focusing on the importance of innovation at a time of prompt global change.

“The program has embraced innovation as an effective tool for developing government capabilities, and included it as one of the main criteria for evaluating the performance of government agencies,” said Sharina Lootah, coordinator of the UAE Innovates 2023 events.

The gathering will tackle the significance of innovation when it comes to offering services, boosting the effectiveness of procedures, and keeping pace with the latest technical and technological developments.

“The Government of Dubai is working to ensure that Dubai remains a leader in setting global standards in the field of government excellence and adopting innovation as a criterion for excellence by building global partnerships and developing capabilities in accordance with international best practices,” Lootah added.

The first day of the event saw an opening speech by the Secretary General of The Executive Council of Dubai Abdulla Mohammed Al Basti.

It also featured a knowledge seminar on “Innovation and Economy in the Media sector” and a keynote speech by CEO of the Dubai Future Foundation Khalfan Belhoul on the UAE’s future as well as other seminars hinged on innovation.

The second day will include a major speech by Chairman and CEO of DP World Sultan bin Sulayem on “Dubai’s Story in Sustainable Innovation in Shipping and International Logistic”.

On the final day of the event, Assistant Director General of Dubai Digital and CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment Younus Al Nasser is set to deliver a vital speech on the “Role of Data in Innovation and Future Shaping”.

The last day will also entail important knowledge seminars and will conclude with a panel discussion on “Social Innovation Towards Sustainability”.


Private sector needs to help drive forward climate change innovation, Princess Noura tells IAEE International Conference

Private sector needs to help drive forward climate change innovation, Princess Noura tells IAEE International Conference
Updated 10 min 47 sec ago

Private sector needs to help drive forward climate change innovation, Princess Noura tells IAEE International Conference

Private sector needs to help drive forward climate change innovation, Princess Noura tells IAEE International Conference

RIYADH: A catalytic event is needed to encourage the private sector to scale up renewable and sustainable energy projects to aid the transition to green fuel, according to Princess Noura Turki Al-Saud, a founding partner at AEON Strategy.

Speaking on the second day of the International Association for Energy Economics Conference, Princess Noura praised recent moves by world leaders in the battle against climate change, but called for more involvement from private companies.

She made the comments during a panel discussion on the pathways to energy transitions, where she also praised the impact of the 2016 Paris Agreement, saying it “brought in the private sector.” 

However, Princess Noura felt that pilot projects in this area need to be further developed, and added: “That would really come with private sector involvement, and for the private sector to really be involved and putting that capital that is necessary to drive innovation and to scale up these technologies and to find the necessary solutions, you really need to have strong governance and transparency.”

She added that the Paris Agreement not only brought in the financial sector, it also attracted civil society into the dialogue. 

“That in itself created the conversation that is wider than what's just happening within the negotiation rooms, which is a process in itself which takes, I would say more than decades,” said the princess.

This session further explored whether climate ambitions and energy security can be harmonized, and the realistic pathways to best meet global, and regional goals and the aspirations of a just energy transition. 

Khalid Abuleif, senior sustainability advisor to the Ministry of Energy, said he considers the climate accords signed in Copenhagen in 2009 – which did not have any legally binding commitments for reducing carbon emissions – as a success rather than a failure. 

“In Copenhagen, we realized at that point, that top-down type of agreement would not really help us get to our goals and reach a consensus of the whole world moving together to address this issue.”

Abulief spoke about the two approaches that currently exist in the world, saying: “One approach that is very much implemented by our partner in the EU, which is, you know, the top-down processing that focuses on the move away from fossil fuel. 

He went on: “The other path focuses on…getting to have a much wider scope to it, because it deals with both successes – that we have to move in the future towards renewable – but also we do not ignore ‘what do we have today?’”

Abulief said that the Saudi initiative is building in the wider band, adding: “We’ve done emission reduction aspects, and we have our targets on that basically doubled what we promised in 2015.”

He added that Saudi Arabia’s approach toward sustainability is holistic, with its energy policies balanced between trade-offs, and its climate actions accelerated to form one of the optimal energy transition pathways.

Princess Noura argued that what is missing is the catalytic effect necessary to scale up these pilot projects and the solutions right. 

“That would really come with private sector involvement, and for the private sector to really be involved and putting that capital that is necessary to drive innovation and to scale up these technologies and to find the necessary solutions, you really need to have strong governance and transparency.”

Ken Koyama, senior managing director, and chief economist at the Institute of Energy Economics in Japan, called for a “pragmatic, inclusive, and holistic approach” to tackle the transition to green energy, while “simultaneously addressing climate change and energy security.”

He added that promoting energy transition towards carbon neutrality means the demand for critical minerals and rare metals will increase exponentially.

The 44th IAEE International Conference is being held in Riyadh from Feb. 4 to 9, in what is a first for the Middle East and North African Region.

The event’s theme is “Pathways to a clean, stable, and sustainable energy future”, and is being hosted by The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center and Saudi Association for Energy Economics.

More than 500 delegates from 40 countries are set to attend the 44th International Association for Energy Economics International Conference, which is being held in the Middle East and North African region for the first time.


Dubai’s international passenger arrivals climb 97% to reach 14.36m in 2022 

Dubai’s international passenger arrivals climb 97% to reach 14.36m in 2022 
Updated 06 February 2023

Dubai’s international passenger arrivals climb 97% to reach 14.36m in 2022 

Dubai’s international passenger arrivals climb 97% to reach 14.36m in 2022 

RIYADH: International passenger arrivals in Dubai reached 14.36 million in 2022, up 97 percent from 7.28 million in 2021, the latest government data showed.  

The figures from Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism indicate that the emirate is closing in on its pre-pandemic visitation levels when 16.73 million international passengers arrived in Dubai in 2019.

“The remarkable rise in international visitation in 2022 supports the ambitious goal of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to double the size of the emirate’s economy by 2033,” said the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.  

He added: “The tourism and travel sector contributes significantly to the leadership’s aim of making the emirate a model for excellence in the global economy.”  

Al Maktoum further noted that Dubai is emerging as a greater catalyst for the growth of global tourism and travel connectivity in the years ahead.  

It should be noted that the latest data from the UN World Tourism Organization shows global tourist travel went down by 37 percent in 2022 compared to 2019. 

The Middle East, however, showed the strongest relative increase in 2022, with arrivals climbing to 83 percent of pre-pandemic figures.  

Dubai exceeded both global and regional barometers of recovery with visitors to the city reaching 86 percent of pre-pandemic levels in 2022.  

“While the global economy remains in a state of flux, Dubai has emerged as a clear leader in the tourism industry. The robust performance is a testament to Dubai’s growing role at the vanguard of global tourism recovery,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism.  

Almarri added: “The effectiveness of our strategies and initiatives gives us the confidence to tap new growth opportunities in the global travel and business sectors over the next few decades.”  

Meanwhile, the hospitality sector in Dubai also achieved significant growth in 2022, as the average occupancy for the hotel sector last year stood at 73 percent, up from 67 percent in 2021, news agency WAM reported.  

This figure is just short of the 75 percent occupancy in the pre-pandemic period of 2019. 

Dubai’s hotel inventory at the end of December 2022 comprised 146,496 rooms at 804 hotel establishments, compared to 126,120 rooms available at the end of December 2019 across 741 establishments. 


Saudi British Bank meets with Hong Kong delegation to elevate investment opportunities  

Saudi British Bank meets with Hong Kong delegation to elevate investment opportunities  
Updated 06 February 2023

Saudi British Bank meets with Hong Kong delegation to elevate investment opportunities  

Saudi British Bank meets with Hong Kong delegation to elevate investment opportunities  

RIYADH: Top officials from Saudi British Bank met with a high-level business delegation from Hong Kong to discuss cross-border business and investment opportunities between Saudi Arabia and the special administrative region of China.  

According to a press release, the Hong Kong business delegation that reached Riyadh on Feb. 5 was led by CEO John Lee Ka-chiu. He was accompanied by Peter Lam, chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, as well as top businessmen and executives.  

The meeting also included a panel discussion between distinguished leaders of Saudi Arabia’s business community and officials from government institutions to discuss points of cooperation and explore investment and trade opportunities that will enhance the economic development plans in the two countries and increase the volume of trade exchange.  

“As countries around the world have to contend with the challenges of climate change, war and inflation, many are looking for new markets and new technology to restart their growth,” said Lam.  

He added: “Especially for Hong Kong, we are excited about the opportunity to leverage the strong ties between Saudi Arabia and Mainland China around the Belt and Road (which enters its 10th year) and ride on long-term national development plans across the two nations, such as the Mainland’s 14th Five Year Plan and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.”  

Tony Cripps, managing director and CEO of SABB said that Hong Kong’s vital position as a financial hub which is a fundamental part of China’s Greater Bay Area and Belt Road strategies makes it a key player in the rapid build-up of business ties with the Kingdom.  

“SABB, together with our international partner and shareholder HSBC, is ideally positioned to support both inbound and outbound trade and investment between these important partners,” said Cripps.  

After arriving in Riyadh on Sunday, Lee said that he will meet top executives of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. during the visit, and added that he would highlight what Hong Kong had to offer as an international financial center.  

“Saudi Aramco’s businesses are very diversified with its different subsidiaries. I will try my best to encourage them to come to Hong Kong for participation, including listing in the city,” said Lee, as reported by the South China Morning Post. 


Chinese FM, central bank governor to attend debt roundtable in India, says IMF MD

Chinese FM, central bank governor to attend debt roundtable in India, says IMF MD
Updated 06 February 2023

Chinese FM, central bank governor to attend debt roundtable in India, says IMF MD

Chinese FM, central bank governor to attend debt roundtable in India, says IMF MD

RIYADH: China's finance minister and its central bank governor will attend a roundtable with other creditors and some borrowing countries in February in India, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a CBS' 60 Minutes interview on Sunday. 

"China has to change its policies because low-income countries cannot pay," she said. 

"What we are working towards is to bring all creditors, the traditional creditors from advanced economies, new creditors like China, Saudi Arabia, India, as well as the private sector, and put them around the table with the debtor countries." 

Georgieva said last month the first such gathering will take place on the sidelines of a meeting of Group of 20 finance officials in India. 

Georgieva, the first person from an emerging market economy to head the International Monetary Fund, has said debt relief was critical for heavily indebted nations to avoid cuts in social services and other repercussions. 

"China is going to participate at the level of minister of finance and the governor of People's Bank of China," she told 60 Minutes.