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With an annual passenger volume of just under 90 million, it's no surprise that the primary focus of Dubai International Airport's expansion endeavors is directed towards elevating customer experience.

Series: Middle East Travel Roundup

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Dubai International Airport (DXB) is set to get a AED 6 billion-AED 10 billion ($1.6 billion-$2.7 billion) mega expansion in the next 5-7 years.

What Does The Expansion Involve?

  • DXB’s transformation into a smart airport
  • New collaborations.
  • Additional lounges to enhance passenger experience.
  • Design and optimize areas to streamline passenger movement.
  • Restructure operations for better gate management.
  • Implement advanced tech solutions for efficiency and passenger services.

The Plan: The airport aims to drive growth over the next 10-15 years until it reaches its maximum capacity. Following this, expansion efforts will shift to Dubai’s second hub, Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC).

While DXB currently accommodates 118-120 million passengers, the second airport can currently manage around 26.5 million passengers and has the potential to expand to a capacity of 240 million after Phase 2 of its expansion.

DXB has also increased its forecast for the year from 83.6 million guests to 85 million, just 1.6% shy of its annual traffic in 2019.

In the first half of this year, Dubai International Airport served 41.6 million passengers, exceeding the numbers for the same period in 2019.

Footnote: As Dubai sets its sights on welcoming 40 million tourists by 2030, DXB is poised to have already hosted approximately 85 million passengers by the end of 2023. This staggering figure underscores the airport’s vital role as a global hub for transit traffic.

Saudi Arabia’s Lumi Car Rental to Float 30% in IPO

Saudi Arabian car rental and leasing company Lumi has confirmed that it would be proceeding with its initial public offering (IPO) and listing of shares on the main market of Saudi stock exchange — Tadawul.

In a statement, Lumi said it is looking to expand its market share. The net proceeds of the IPO will go to Seera Group Holding, formerly known as Al Tayyar Travel Group.

Number of Shares: The company will offer 16.5 million shares, representing 30% of its issued share capital, Lumi said in a statement.

Timeline: The offer price range for the offer shares will be announced on Wednesday, and the final offer price will be announced on September 7. Last March, the CMA approved Lumi’s application to float its shares.

Background: Lumi was established by Seera Group Holding in 2006 as a sole proprietorship to provide car rental services amongst a portfolio of travel companies. The company has increased its fleet size of 3,603 vehicles to 24,730 vehicles as of April 30 this year.

Why Riyadh Air Won’t Compete with Gulf Carriers

Saudi Arabia’s newest airline Riyadh Air would not center its strategy on connecting flights or extensive global networks, instead, it seeks to enhance connectivity for travelers directly engaging with the kingdom, said Tony Douglas, the airline’s CEO.

The Plan: In an interview with UK’s Financial Times, Douglas revealed the airline has mapped out a “super aggressive” growth strategy that will look beyond competing with regional carriers like Qatar Airways, Dubai’s Emirates and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad.

With Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning demand for global connectivity, Douglas expressed confidence in Riyadh Air’s potential to satisfy citizens’ travel needs and cater to an influx of tourists and visitors. The airline’s creation aligns with the country’s strategic push for tourism and global engagement.

What About Saudia? Douglas, who earlier served as the CEO to the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, also revealed in the same interview that Riyadh Air was looking to capitalise more on niche markets and destinations, while the country’s other flag carrier, Saudia, would shift its focus to cater to the millions of religious pilgrims who visit the country’s holy sites.

Launch: With plans to launch in 2025, Riyadh Air has an order book that includes 39 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner wide-body aircraft.

Saudi’s AviLease to Acquire Standard Chartered’s Aircraft Leasing Business

AviLease, the global aircraft lessor wholly owned by Saudi sovereign fund Public Investment Fund, has announced that it would be acquiring the aircraft leasing business of Standard Chartered, which includes Dublin-based Pembroke Group.

When? The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023.

What? As part of the $3.6 billion acquisition, AviLease will acquire a portfolio of 100 narrow body aircraft while also becoming servicer for another 22 aircraft. The combined platform will own and manage 167 of the latest technology, fuel efficient aircraft, consisting of 145 owned valued at $6 billion and 22 managed aircraft valued at $800 million leased to 46 airlines globally.

We aim to feature among the top 10 global aircraft lessors and this acquisition brings us one step closer to that ambition, AviLease CEO, Edward O’Byrne said.

Expo Centre Sharjah Witnesses 63% Increase in Exhibitions for 4thQuarter

Sharjah’s Expo Centre has 18 events lined up for the last quarter of 2023. There’s a significant 63% jump in the number of events compared to the same period in the previous year.

Venues: The events are scheduled to take place at the Expo Centre and affiliated centers in Khorfakkan and Al Dhaid.

The Line-Up of Events: Kicking off on September 27 and running until January 1, 2024, the highlights feature the 52nd Watch and Jewellery Middle East Show, the Gulf Coatings Show, the National Career Exhibition, and the International Education Show. Also on the agenda is the much-awaited Sharjah International Book Fair, an annual celebration of the literary arts. The agenda also features the Trade Fair on from November 21 to 22.

The growth in Sharjah’s exhibition sector also ensures a significant impact on various economic sectors but also to invigorate tourism, diversify revenue streams, and showcase Sharjah’s advancements across various developmental arenas and facets of life.

Almosafer Partners With MoEngage for Personalized Engagement

Saudi Arabian travel company Almosafer, part of Seera Group, has partnered with MoEngage, a marketing automation and customer engagement platform, to drive meaningful engagement with its travellers using an insights-led strategy.

Personalized Messaging: The brand plans to leverage MoEngage’s platform to create personalized messaging, ensuring continuous customer engagement at the right place and time.

Almosafer also intends to leverage MoEngage’s capabilities to:

  • Enable the brand to craft highly relevant and impactful campaigns
  • Maximizie the effectiveness of engagement efforts

“We realize the research that goes behind booking a service, and we intend to provide assistance there as well with the help of MoEngage,” said Pallav Singhvi, vice president consumer travel – Almosafer.

Jordan Gets 75% More LCC Crowd

The number of visitors coming to Jordan through low-cost airlines reached 282,000 over the past seven months, marking an estimated 75% growth compared to 2022, said Jordan’s Tourism Minister Makram Queisi.

Quiesi said Jordan has inked strategic agreements with five low-cost airlines, beckoning tourists from 17 countries and 25 cities and charter flights have also been arranged from nine countries.

Visitor Numbers: The kingdom has welcomed over 3.7 million visitors during the past seven months, an impressive 51% surge compared to the same period last year.

Tourist income during this period exceeded JD 3 billion ($4.3 billion), registering a 50% increase from the previous year. Jordan also witnessed the opening of 15 new hotels in the first half of this year.

The tourism sector, employing 57,162 individuals, is a vital source of employment for the economy.

Hilton Debuts Waldorf Astoria in Egypt

Hilton has debuted its luxury brand Waldorf Astoria in Egypt with the opening of Waldorf Astoria Cairo Heliopolis.

Egypt’s First: As the first Waldorf Astoria property to debut in Egypt, Waldorf Astoria Cairo Heliopolis signals Hilton’s commitment to expanding its luxury portfolio to the most sought-after destinations,” said Dino Michael, senior vice president and global category head, Hilton Luxury Brands.

Why Egypt? “Egypt welcomed 11.7 million tourists in 2022, up 46% on the previous year, and Cairo is often the starting point for travellers’ journey to discover Egypt,” said Simon Vincent, executive vice president and president, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Hilton.

Meetings: The Waldorf Astoria Cairo Heliopolis includes six fully equipped meeting rooms and a ballroom that can accommodate up to 2,000 guests.

Kuwait Airport’s Passenger Numbers Go Up 13%

Kuwait’s Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said it expects the total passenger traffic to and from Kuwait International Airport in 2023 to reach 15.5 million, compared to 14.46 passengers last year.

The total passenger traffic from Kuwait International Airport in the current summer season is expected to reach 5.75 million passengers; an increase of 13% over last year, according to a DGCA press statement.

The civil aviation wing also expects to operate 45,000 flights this season, an increase of 15 percent compared to last year.

Most Active Destinations for Summer:

  • Dubai
  • Istanbul
  • Cairo
  • Doha
  • Abu Dhabi
  • Jeddah
  • Riyadh
  • Bahrain
  • Amman
  • Sohag

Top Operating Airlines:

  • Kuwait Airways
  • Jazeera Airways
  • IndiGo
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Fly Dubai
  • Qatar Airways
  • Egypt Air
  • Emirates Airlines
  • Air Cairo. 

Sunset Hospitality Unveils First Social Living Collection Hotel

Dubai-based Sunset Hospitality Group announced the launch of its new brand Social Living Collection in Bodrum this August. In collaboration with Yalikavak Marina, Social Living Collection is the newest brand in SHG’s portfolio

What’s The Social Living Collection? It is a curated selection of top-tier lifestyle hotels and resorts situated around the world. According to a release, the Bodrum property will house the most luxurious suites in Turkey.

About Sunset Hospitality: Founded 11 years ago the group has its presence in 15 countries.

Ajman Tourism Partners With City University Ajman

The Ajman Department of Tourism Development has signed a memorandum of understanding with City University Ajman to enhance cooperation, knowledge and expertise exchange in community services and institutional experiences.

What Does the Partnership Involve? As per the agreement:

  • City University Ajman will provide partial scholarships for the employees of the Ajman tourism and their families who will be nominated according to agreed criteria.
  • In return Ajman Tourism will facilitate volunteer work for the university students and allow them to participate in joint events and programs
  • Regular meetings would be held to review best practices in all work fields
  • Field and academic training related to skills development
  • Apecialized training programs.
  • Participation and exchange of experiences related to creativity and innovation

Makkah Buses Carry 80 Million Passengers During Trial

The Royal Commission for Makkah City and Holy Sites has announced that the Makkah buses project has operated 1.5 million trips during the trial period.

More than 80 million passengers have used the bus service since the start of the trial operation, the commission said.

It claimed that the 400 buses operated by the service in main locations have contributed to reducing traffic congestion and has eased access to the main educational and recreational areas, historical sites, and the central area of the Grand Mosque.

The Royal Commission for Makkah City and Holy Sites launched the second phase of the free trial run of the Makkah Bus Project in March last year to serve the residents and visitors of Makkah on a larger scale.

New Appointments

>> Le Royal Méridien Doha, Agora, Doha, Autograph Collection, and Qabila Westbay Hotel welcome Samer Gerges and Hiba Qalyoubi to its leadership team. Gerges joins as the new multi-property director of sales and marketing, while Qalyoubi takes on the role of multi-property director of marketing communications.

>> JW Marriott Hotel Riyadh announced the appointment of Chef Hamzeh Abu Elfoul as its new culinary director.

>> Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel And Villas announced the appointment of Julien Gonzalvez as its new general manager.

>> Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts announced the appointment of Ravneet Arora as its new director of sales and marketing.

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Tags: air leasing, car rentals, dubai international airport, egypt, emirates air, events, hilton, ipo, jordan tourism, lccs, qatar airways, Riyadh Air, Seera Group, waldorf astoria

Photo credit: DXB is set to get a AED 6 billion-AED 10 billion mega expansion. Skift

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