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Frontiers November 2013 Issue

UAE AT A GLANCE ABU DHABI CAPITAL CITY 7.1 MILLION POPULATION 2ND WEALTHIEST ECONOMY OF THE MIDDLE EAST 32,278 SQUARE MILES (83,600 SQUARE KILOMETERS) COUNTRY AREA The site of modern Dubai once was a caravan station along the Arabian Peninsula’s trade routes. Further west along the coast, Abu Dhabi was a village of fishermen and pearl divers that saw its first settlers more than five millenniums ago. The two emirates’ past as gathering spots for desert travelers echoes today, as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the largest cities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have emerged as international business cen-ters at the strategic crossroads between Europe and Asia. The UAE’s federation of seven emirates, which became an inde-pendent nation just more than 40 years ago, is collectively one of the world’s top 10 producers of crude oil but is intent on diversifying economically. That strategy includes becoming a global hub for air transport, as evidenced by growth among the nation’s ambitious airlines and its rapidly expanding airports. The UAE is a major market for Boeing’s commercial and military products. One of the country’s main airlines, Emirates, is the world’s largest operator of Boeing’s best-selling 777 twin-aisle jetliner. “You look at what the UAE has done in a short amount of time and it’s pretty tremendous,” said Jeffrey “J.J.” Johnson, president of Boeing Middle East, from his office in Dubai. “In Dubai especially, you’ve seen the emirate attract hub traf-fic that used to go elsewhere, and now it also has more people stopping over for a visit instead of just passing through.” Passenger traffic at Dubai International Airport reached nearly 57.7 million in 2012, up 13 percent from the previous year. Already ranked as the world’s second-busiest airport in terms of passenger numbers, the airport is expected to serve more than 65 million passengers this year. Dubai’s second major airport is preparing to host regular commercial flights as well. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi International Airport has raised its annual capacity to 12.5 million passengers and, after an ongoing expansion, hopes to reach 40 million passengers by 2017, according to the government-owned enterprise that oversees the airport. The Airports Council International named Abu Dhabi Interna-tional Airport as the region’s best airport last year. Many of those passengers and visitors are arriving on airplanes operated by the UAE’s three major commercial airlines. “The UAE is the world’s third-largest market for Boeing,” said Marty Bentrott, Commercial Airplanes vice president of Sales for the Middle East, Russia and Central Asia. “The strategic foresight of the country’s leaders that has led to the rapid growth of the airlines and the expansion of its infrastructure has made it an increasingly popular hub for both passenger and cargo flights. It is justifiably a matter of pride for us that a sizable part of the UAE airlines’ fleet comprises Boeing airplanes such as the 777.” Emirates Airline has emerged as the Middle East’s largest airline and the fourth-largest in the world. Launched by the Dubai government in 1985, the airline operates more than 3,000 flights every week between more than 70 countries. Etihad Airways, started in 2003 by the Abu Dhabi government, is also expanding rapidly. In 2012, its 10.3 million passen-gers represented a 23 percent increase from the previous year. The airline’s mixed fleet includes 16 777-300ER (Extended Range) jetliners, and Etihad also has orders for 41 787-9 Dreamliners. Low-cost carrier flydubai, which began flying just four years ago, runs an all-Boeing fleet of Next-Generation 737-800s to shuttle travelers between destinations in Asia, Europe and Africa. And flydubai was the first airline in the world to take delivery of BOEING FRONTIERS / NOVEMBER 2013 41 The 2013 Dubai Airshow in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) runs Nov. 17–21 at its new home, Dubai World Central, the city’s second and newest airport. The biennial air show, first held in 1989, has become one of the world’s largest, with orders totaling $63 billion during the 2011 show. That year, 960 companies from 50 countries, including Boeing, were represented at the five-day event. Boeing, which has a long and strong relationship with the UAE, also will be a major presence at this year’s air show. PHOTO: Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates and home to the biennial Dubai Airshow. GETTY IMAGES


Frontiers November 2013 Issue
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