Brexit could curtail air traffic to the emirates from Britain.

Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, the director-general of the General Civil Aviation Authority, has said a plunging British pound and the expected downturn in Britain’s economy could cut into the number of passengers from the country, which he said was a “key” market for UAE carriers.

“The reaction could effect the purchase power of the British people who are coming to the UAE, or flying to Australia via the UAE,” he said.

Among the Gulf carriers, Qatar Airways appears to be the most exposed to the UK market, because of its 15 per cent stake in IAG, the company that owns British Airways. Akbar Al Baker, the chief executive of Qatar Airways, said this month that he was happy with the stake in IAG and had no plans to raise his shareholding beyond this level. Qatar Airways did not comment on the UK leaving the EU after Thursday’s referendum.

Tim Clark, the president of Emirates Airline and a British national, was a vocal critic of Brexit during the annual Iata airline industry meeting in Dublin early this month.

“My concern is what will happen in the rest of the EU,” Mr Clark said. “Instability means lowering demand, lowering in demand means less people travelling on aeroplanes. How long that would last, I don’t know,” he said.

But the airlines based in the UK have the most to lose.

Analysts have described Brexit as a “disaster” for airlines in the UK, with significant falls in their traffic likely because of the sterling devaluation, economic downturn and loss of business confidence.

Peter Morris, the chief economist at Ascend Flightglobal Consultancy in London, predicted that air travel to, from and through the UK could fall by between 3 and 10 per cent a year until 2020.

“This [Brexit] will effect airline networks, which will rebalance to accommodate traffic levels. Finances of UK-based airlines will be hit in a variety of ways that it is premature to estimate,” Mr Morris said.

The UK airlines have already started to lower their profit targets for this year. IAG said operating profit will not increase at a level similar to the 70 per cent jump posted last year, but will still be “significant”. The British airline easyJet also said it expected to feel the effects of economic and consumer uncertainty this summer.

IAG, however, has diversified beyond its British holding. The company also owns Spanish carriers Iberia and Vueling, and Ireland’s Aer Lingus, giving it exposure across Europe and reducing the pain of lower demand to London Heathrow, its critical airport hub.

Mark Martin, the chief executive of Martin Consulting in Dubai, said the effect of Brexit on the UK aviation industry “will be gradual, cancerous and terminal”.

“British aircraft manufacturing today is terminally ill and practically living off life support from European manufacturing conglomerates. Apart from BAE Systems that produces the Hawk [advanced training aircraft], nearly all British aircraft and components made are as a result of a cooperative European industrial co-production pact, which sadly may be recalled and put to an end.”

Mr Morris said the regulation of the UK-EU market will be “a tangled mess to unweave”, given that the UK civil aviation authority has been involved in shaping central aspects of EU policy and agreements for more than two decades.

“To the casual observer the whole process has been a poorly planned political coup, which will rock the UK economy and certainly produce long-term damage to UK aviation and its customers,” Mr Morris said.

One thing that will not need to change is the UAE’s air accord with Britain. That is because the accord is with the UK directly rather than with the European Union, Mr Al Suwaidi said.

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Saudi Arabia's new airline granted licence to start flying

A new airline will take off in Saudi Arabia as the kingdom takes a major step in liberalisation of its aviation sector.

SaudiGulf Airlines won a ­licence to operate internal flights in the country. Saudi ­Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) approved the airline’s application for an air operator’s certificate on June 9, which was formally handed over on Wednesday night, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Based in Dammam, SaudiGulf will offer domestic flights to Riyadh and Jeddah as well as a service to Dubai, according to its website.

While the airline did not say when the flights will start, reports said operations are expected to begin in September.

Saudi Arabian Airlines, known as Saudia, and the budget carrier flynas are, currently, the only local carriers serving the 27 million people living in the country.

Analysts hailed the move, saying that Saudi Arabia has significant potential.

“The news is refreshing and encouraging to see the changes that the Saudi government have embarked on,” said Mark Martin, the chief executive of Dubai-based Martin Consulting. “We believe Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil will lower to the point where we may see winds of a radical liberalisation trends aimed and designed to attract the world into the region.”

Saudi Arabia is one of the largest countries in Asia by land mass and has no rail network, so the potential for increased air transport is immense, Mr Martin said.

Al Maha Airways, a unit of ­Qatar Airways, has also been waiting for a certificate to operate in Saudi Arabia, having received an initial licence in 2012, when the Saudi regulator began accepting applications for domestic flights.

Qatar Airways was not immediately available for a comment on the latest development.

Competition is likely to heat up, as the parent company of Saudia plans to launch its own budget airline. The low-cost airline, called Flyadeal, will be based in Jeddah and is expected to be launched next year.

“Clearly the focus is on sustainable economic reforms that are progressive, formidable and radical,” said Mr Martin. “This falls in place extremely well with the recent Saudia restructuring [and] the launch of SaudiGulf Airlines, Al Maha Airways and Flyadeal.”

He said that Dammam’s location close to Qatar, the UAE and Bahrain could lead it to emerge as a seventh hub after Doha, Manama, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Muscat, adding to already intense competition among Gulf carriers.

“Dammam as a destination was neglected and we’re glad that the Saudi government has finally recognised its strategic value,” said Mr Martin.

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Qatar Airways deal with Meridiana likely to fall through because of labour dispute

Qatar Airways’ plans to buy a stake in Italian carrier Meridiana is heading for failure unless it can reach a deal with labour unions before today’s deadline.

According to Italian law, if a company wants to lay off more than 15 people, it has 75 days to negotiate with labour unions, which ended yesterday.

“Qatar Airways was very clear. It said we want to do a deal with Meridiana, but we need to agree with the unions, otherwise the deal will not go on,” a Meridiana spokeswoman said. “If nothing happens on the union side until the end of today, Qatar Airways will exit.”

Qatar Airways declined to comment.

Meridiana has 1,600 employees. Qatar Airways needs to lay off a “surplus” of 500 employees to bring the company to the right size, said the Meridiana spokeswoman. Those 500 employees are mostly cabin crew, but there is a possibility that they can be hired again in the future, she said.

Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways’ chief executive, said last month that the owner of Meridiana would not “pump any more money” into Meridiana. “If they don’t do that, the company may go under,” he said.

Qatar Airways has aggressive plans for the Italian airline. “You will see when Qatar Airways becomes an investor what their [Meridiana’s] size will become,” said Mr Al Baker at a round table at The International Air Travel Association (Iata) in Dublin last month.

“You don’t expect me to be a substantial shareholder and fly MD80s,” he said, referring to the 30-year-old McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series aircraft the Italian carrier operates.

Mr Al Baker said that Qatar Airways complements Meridiana’s network, as the Arabian Gulf airline flies 70 frequencies a week into Italy, so Qatar Airway will feed passengers into in the domestic network of Meridiana and its European network.

Qatar Airways is the second of the big three Gulf carriers to show interest in an Italian airline. Etihad Airways acquired a 49 per cent stake in Alitalia, Italy’s national airline, in 2014.

Meridiana was established in 1963 with the aim of promoting tourism on the Italian island of Sardinia.

The Italian carrier was delisted from the stock exchange in May 2013. It owns a fleet of 20 aircraft and carries 4 million passengers annually, according to its website.

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Employment in the Middle East is in decline, jobs index shows

Employment opportunities in the Middle East are receding rapidly as the slow global economic recovery, low oil prices and regional instability hit business confidence, according to the Monster Employment Index for the Middle East.

The survey, a monthly gauge of online job posting activity, fell to minus 17 per cent last month from minus 4 per cent in April.

But employment opportunities in Bahrain and the UAE rose by 9 per cent year on year last month.

“While Bahrain and the UAE continue to exhibit growth in hiring at a moderate pace, ­e-recruitment activity in the region slipped 17 per cent below the corresponding period a year ago,” said Sanjay Modi, the regional managing director at Monster.com.

“With the domestic news agenda being dominated by austerity measures and the introduction of VAT, we expect 2016 to be a challenging year for the UAE as well.

“Under the current scenario, companies across the country, including government agencies, will have to establish a new order for promoting growth in the UAE and change their spending habits, while shifting energy production towards solar power and other alternative resources.”

In the UAE, online job postings in the healthcare sector rose by 34 per cent. It was followed by the consumer goods sector comprising fast-moving consumer goods, food and home appliance, with 29 per cent growth in job posts.

The least promising sector was hospitality, with online recruitment activity registering a 32 per cent fall last month, followed by the financial services industry.

Listings for the oil and gas and financial services sectors showed negative year-on-year growth of 18 per cent and 12 per cent.

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Abu Dhabi Airport gets ready for retail as Midfield Terminal nears completion

Work will begin in a few months on retail units at the Duty Free area of Abu Dhabi Airport’s new Dh19 billion Midfield Terminal.

Seventy-three per cent of the terminal is now complete, Abu Dhabi Airports also said on Tuesday.

The baggage handling system is near completion and is expected to be finished by the end of this year. Similarly, work on the airside of the airport is more than 70 per cent complete. The terminal’s car park is also 70 per cent finished.

The new terminal is slated to be opened next year and will support Abu Dhabi’s economy – providing a direct lift to the aviation and transport sectors, while also boosting tourism and retail.

The Midfield Terminal, along with the current airport infrastructure, will serve the rising number of passengers flying through Abu Dhabi, a figure expected to surpass 45 million in the next decade. Last year, 23.3 million passengers passed through the emirate, and this year more than 25 million are expected.

“The new airport in Abu Dhabi, if well managed as the airport in Dubai, will support economic activity in Abu Dhabi, as the improvement in infrastructure and the services provided stimulate tourism and investment,” said Garbis Iradian, the chief economist for the Middle East and North Africa at the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

The Midfield Terminal will be the largest architectural structure in the capital, according to Abu Dhabi Airports. At its widest, its roof span is 319 metres. Its 18 arches, the largest of which is 180 metres wide and 5 metres high. Situated between the two runways at Abu Dhabi International Airport, the new terminal will allow a short journey from runway to parking stand, according to the airport.

“Midfield Terminal Building will have commercial space, there will be retailers, food and beverage outlets, which will make passengers stay and spend time in the emirate,” said Alp Eke, senior economist at National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

Meanwhile, UAE airports in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah will introduce departure taxes effective from June 30 to help fund future projects.

Airlines in Abu Dhabi will be responsible for the collection of a Dh35 fee and the revenue will be transferred to Abu Dhabi Airports Company. Analysts welcomed the imposition of the new fee, saying that raising non-oil government revenue is needed amid prolonged low oil prices.

“In the absence of non-oil revenue measures it will be difficult for Abu Dhabi government to fund projects,” said Mr Iradian.

“Also the fiscal consolidation efforts should rely on a combination of raising non-oil revenues and reducing non-priority or inefficient public spending.”

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Money & Me: British entrepreneur behind Biriyani Pot finds health is the real wealth

Akshay Dosaj is the managing dir­ector of Purple Honey Group, a company that creates and owns restaurant brands in the UAE. The British entrepreneur of Indian origin is behind popular restaurants such as Biryani Pot, Coriander, Zaytinya and Tamba. The 34-year-old currently lives in Abu Dhabi with his wife, four-year-old son, one-year-old daughter and their dog.

How did your upbringing shape your attitude towards money?

My mum and dad worked very hard to give us the best education that money can buy from a young age. I grew up realising the importance of hard work. I’ve also been brought up with the attitude that money is meaningless unless you have health, friends and family to enjoy it. Yes, you get to work hard to make money, but I’ve been brought up remembering the importance of being happy and healthy.

How much did you get paid for your first job?

Probably nothing, as I used to work for my father. I was 11 and my father had a number of little shops including a grocery shop or video shop. I used to go there to learn.

Are you spender or saver?

I enjoy spending on other people. I like to spend money on my wife, my family and kids, but not on myself. I don’t believe in saving money, but in investing it.

What is your most cherished purchase?

My first property. I bought a flat in London around four to five years ago. It made a good return. I bought it at a good time and a good price. I still own it today.

Where do you save your ­money?

In terms of savings, I have a mixture of fixed deposits, but I am a believer in assets. I’m a firm believer in the London property market in particular, or buying assets to make money with.

Do you prefer paying by credit card or in cash?

Credit card, so I can get air miles. I also don’t like having a big thick wallet. I like having a thin wallet. A credit card also helps me to keep track of what I spend.

What has been your best investment?

Genuinely, it will be my pro­perty. But, the best investment is a seven-week holiday I took with my wife. That paid dividends. We went to Kenya, Tanzania, ­Italy, the UK and the Maldives.

What do you most regret spending money on?

I love watches and I still do. The first watch I was very excited about it. I was looking at it every day. It wasn’t the same case for the second watch or my third watch and the other watches that I bought after that.

What financial advice would you offer your younger self?

Learn how to invest in the stock market, even at the age of 11 or 12. I will encourage my son to learn this as early as possible. It doesn’t have to be real money, there are some programmes that teach people about stocks and how the market works.

Do you have a plan for the future?

Yes, I have milestones. I cer­tainly want to expand my business. I want our brands to expand in the region and also go global, especially Biryani Pot and Tamba. My dream is to see 20,000 Biryani Pots around the world.

If you won Dh1m, what would you do with it?

I would go on a family holiday. It would include my family, my sisters and my wife’s family. We would all go for a nice family holiday together. This will not take up the whole amount – the rest, as we are in Ramadan, I would give it to charity to people who need it, especially children in need.

What would you raid your savings account for?

I would like to one day own a beautiful house on the beach. I haven’t thought about anywhere in particular. But it would be nice to be in the south of Italy or the south of France.

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Emirates to start flying direct to Melbourne from Dubai

Emirates, one of the world’s largest airlines by international passengers, will start a direct flight to Melbourne, Australia from October — saving passengers around two and half hours of travel time.

Operated by an Emirates B777-300ER aircraft, the flight will depart Dubai at 3am and arrive in Melbourne at 11.20pm. The return flight will leave Melbourne at 6am and land in Dubai at 1.05pm, Emirates said in a statement.

Currently, Emirates flies from Dubai to Melbourne via Kuala Lumpur.

Emirates offers a total of four daily flights from Dubai to Melbourne through its codeshare with Australian airline Qantas. Those flights include three services operated by an A380 aircraft and one flight on an Emirates B777-300ER.

Emirates and Qantas both operate 91 flights per week to Australia from Dubai. Of these 91 flights, Emirates has 77 services, which operate to and from Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney, including six daily A380 flights.

Emirates forged a partnership with Qantas in 2013, and the tie-up between the two airlines extends for a period of five years.

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Emirates to enhance flights to Melbourne from Dubai

Emirates, one of the world’s largest airlines by international passengers, will add another flight option to Melbourne, Australia from October — saving passengers around two and half hours of travel time.

Operated by an Emirates B777-300ER aircraft, the flight will depart Dubai at 3am and arrive in Melbourne at 11.20pm. The return flight will leave Melbourne at 6am and land in Dubai at 1.05pm, Emirates said in a statement.

Currently, Emirates flies from Dubai to Melbourne via Kuala Lumpur.

Emirates offers a total of four daily flights from Dubai to Melbourne through its codeshare with Australian airline Qantas. Those flights include three services operated by an A380 aircraft and one flight on an Emirates B777-300ER.

Emirates and Qantas both operate 91 flights per week to Australia from Dubai. Of these 91 flights, Emirates has 77 services, which operate to and from Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney, including six daily A380 flights.

Emirates forged a partnership with Qantas in 2013, and the tie-up between the two airlines extends for a period of five years.

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Emirates to Enhance flights to Melbourne from Dubai

Emirates, one of the world’s largest airlines by international passengers, will add another flight option to Melbourne, Australia from October — saving passengers around two and half hours of travel time.

Operated by an Emirates B777-300ER aircraft, the flight will depart Dubai at 3am and arrive in Melbourne at 11.20pm. The return flight will leave Melbourne at 6am and land in Dubai at 1.05pm, Emirates said in a statement.

Currently, Emirates flies from Dubai to Melbourne via Kuala Lumpur.

Emirates offers a total of four daily flights from Dubai to Melbourne through its codeshare with Australian airline Qantas. Those flights include three services operated by an A380 aircraft and one flight on an Emirates B777-300ER.

Emirates and Qantas both operate 91 flights per week to Australia from Dubai. Of these 91 flights, Emirates has 77 services, which operate to and from Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney, including six daily A380 flights.

Emirates forged a partnership with Qantas in 2013, and the tie-up between the two airlines extends for a period of five years.

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Dubai Parks and Resorts proposes name change – to dXb Entertainments

Dubai Parks and Resorts, the company which owns three linked theme parks in Dubai, said that it plans to vote to change its name to dXb Entertainments.

The Dubai-listed company will also vote on the election and appointment of an additional board member, following a board of directors meeting held on June 15.

“dXb Entertainments is the proposed name for the corporate entity, while Dubai Parks and Resorts will continue to be the name of the region’s largest integrated theme park destination,” the entertainment company said in a statement.

Shareholders of the company will meet on June 23 to discuss these matters.

Dubai Parks and Resorts, which is due to open in October of this year, will feature Motiongate, Dubai, Bollywood Parks, Dubai and Legoland, and a Legoland Water Park.

Shares of Dubai Parks and Resorts are up 33.66 per cent year-to-date.

Dubai Parks and Resorts was spun off in 2014 from Meraas, a private property company owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

Last month, the company successfully closed a Dh1.68 billion rights issue to help fund the opening of a fourth theme park at its Jebel Ali home.

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