Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Indian President presents Padma Shri Award to Sunny Varkey, Founder & Chairman of GEMS Education

New Delhi, March 31, 2009: The Honourable President of India, Smt. Pratibha Patil, has awarded Mr. Sunny Varkey, Founder & Chairman of GEMS Education, with one of the country’s highest honours, the Padma Shri award, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Education and Social service. The ceremony was held in the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Mr. Varkey joins a select list of Global Indians to be honoured with the Padma Shri award for his exemplary services in the field of education across the world, and particularly the UAE. With a network of 100 schools world-wide, of which 26 are in the UAE, Mr. Varkey manages one of the largest networks of private schools globally. GEMS Education has contributed significantly to the socio-economic progress of the various countries it operates in.

“I am overwhelmed by this recognition from the Government of India. Receiving this from the Honourable President is a great honour. Education and social services are extremely close to my heart. I share this honour with the entire team of GEMS Education, who through their consistent hard work and dedication, has improved the lives of people across the world. Awards like this motivate us to continue the work we do in the field of education and to focus on initiatives that help provide education to the underprivileged, “Mr. Varkey said.

Mr. Varkey received the Rajiv Gandhi Award for Eminent Educationist last year, and has also earlier received the CEO Middle East Award for Corporate Social Responsibility, the Global Indian Business Award and the Most Outstanding Businessman of the Year by Asian Businessman Awards, Middle East – all for his achievements in education and healthcare

Emirates SkyCargo Welcomes New-Generation Freighter into Fleet

Dubai, UAE, 31st March 2009 – Emirates SkyCargo’s first Boeing 777 Freighter has arrived in Dubai after completing its inaugural commercial flight from Hong Kong.

The carrier took delivery of the new-generation freighter at Boeing’s Everett, Washington facility on the weekend. From there it went directly to Hong Kong, still one of the carrier’s most robust routes, where it was loaded with cargo bound for Dubai and beyond.

The Boeing 777F, with its range and environmental advantages over other freighters in the market, will play an integral role in Emirates’ freighter fleet. It boasts the longest range capability of all twin engine jets, able to fly non-stop between Dubai and major cargo centres such as Frankfurt and Hong Kong with a full 103-tonne payload.

Renowned for its fuel efficiency – the Boeing 777F uses less fuel per tonne of cargo than other freighters available, significantly reducing the fuel bill – it is also the quietest freighter flying today (QC2 compliant).

The new aircraft will complement Emirates existing fleet of Boeing 777 passenger aircraft. This year, the airline will become the largest Boeing 777 operator in the world, already operating more than 70. Sixty five per cent of all Emirates SkyCargo traffic travels in the belly of its wide-bodied passenger aircraft.

Ram Menen, Divisional Senior Vice President Cargo, said, “This freighter is part of our long-term investment for Emirates SkyCargo.”

He acknowledged that while the air cargo industry was currently experiencing its toughest period since the beginning of the jet age, world air cargo traffic was still forecast to triple over the next 20 years, and said that Emirates needed to be prepared for when these predicted growth levels returned.

“In the last 15 years a tremendous amount of work has gone into developing the science of supply chain management. Inventory and logistics management are two of the most critical elements of the supply chain and with globalisation of manufacturing and of the marketplace, reliability of transport plays a very important role. Just-in-time and vendor managed inventory is what creates a very cost efficient supply chain with time becoming a crucial factor.

“Emirates has opted for these brand new, super-efficient aircraft to ensure we are best placed to serve the industry’s requirements in the long term. Freighters have a greater role in today’s supply chain – transporting cargo directly from production to consumption.”

Emirates SkyCargo will take delivery of another Boeing 777F later this year, with a further two on order

Emirates Supports Uae Nationals At Careers Fair

DUBAI, U.A.E, 28th March 2009 - The Emirates Group is once again supporting the country’s Emiratisation drive, by taking an active part in the Annual Career Fair to be held in Dubai World Trade Centre from 29th to 31st March 2009.

A strong supporter of Emiratistaion since commencing operations in 1985, Emirates has worked hard to recruit and retain UAE nationals, providing them with the exciting opportunity to give UAE nationals a chance to learn about, and develop meaningful careers in aviation.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group said: “The Annual Careers Fair is an ideal platform to raise awareness of the opportunities available within the Emirates Group for UAE nationals. Emirates has always been committed to recruiting Emiratis and helping them cultivate their careers and we will continue to support them now and into the future. We understand this year will be a very challenging year for almost all employers, however we will continue supporting national recruitment and taking it on priority.”

“We will thoroughly review each application and provide opportunities for the candidates to be assessed in order to determine the best available vacancy that matches their profile.”

At the 2008 Annual Careers Fair, the Emirates Group stand received over 3900 applications for employment. This year, Emirates Group expects a record number of job seekers to pass by its stand E4- 1 in Hall 3, which has been enhanced with new and exciting facilities to cater to the expected increase in demand.

The new stand will span two levels and will be installed with 10 internet stations to encourage paper free applications. An initial medical pre-screening for UAE nationals who have expressed interest in the cadet pilot program will also be undertaken on the stand by specialized Nurses.

Staff and management of Emirates’ National Recruitment & Development department will be at the company’s stand to discuss career development opportunities with visitors throughout the exhibition. In addition, UAE national pilots, cabin crew and engineers will be available to share their experiences of training and working in the Emirates Group and to answer visitors’ queries.

Key programmes offered by the Emirates Group include;

National High School programme, covering a range of diverse areas such as; Sky Cargo, Dnata Airport Services, IT, Sales, Group Security and facilities
Apprentice Mechanic (Dnata Technical) programme
English language trainee programme
Cadet pilot and cabin crew programmes
Diploma Graduate training programme
Aircraft Mechanics (Emirates Engineering) programme
Graduate training programme (National Higher Diploma / Bachelor) for HR, Corporate Communications, Performance Development, Industry travel, D&LM, Commercial Operations, Airport Services, IT , Finance, Dnata Travel Services, Hotel & Resort, CASA, YM and Flight Operations
For more information on careers within the Emirates Group visit www.emiratesgroupcareers.com

DM gets more ISO certificates

Eng. Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality said the Municipality is one of the leading departments in Dubai Government, which has always sought to achieve the best results and highest standards in all fields as it pursues a policy of taking well studied steps and work as a team to reach the best practices.

He was speaking when the Municipality and six of its organizational units were receiving certificates for quality systems in accordance with the requirements of ISO 9001:2008 international standard.

The certificates were distributed in the presence of Mr. Trogger, Regional Director, Middle East of the Norway-based Det Norske Veritas (DNV), the international ISO certification body.

The certificates were received by Khaled Bin Zayed, Director of Municipality Centres Department, Abdullah Abdul Rahman, Director of Human Resources Department, Ahmed Abdul Karim, Director of Public Parks and Horticulture Department, Eng. Mohamed AbdulAziz Nujm, Director of Sewage Water Treatment Plant Department, Mohammed Al Zaffin, Director of GIS Department, Maryam Al Hammadi, Director of Corporate Excellence Department. Members of the working groups of all departments were also present on the occasion.

Lootah thanked the departments for their efforts and called them strive to obtain such certificates, which enhance the quality of services provided, and emphasize the systems corresponding to international standards for these certificates.

Lootah congratulated all employees on this achievement and encouraged them to continue the efforts towards more achievements in work, which contributes to the realization of the Municipality's vision creating an excellent city that provides the essence of success and comfort of living.

The Municipality's winning of these certificates comes on the basis of a clear plan of action by the Corporate Excellence Department for getting certificates of quality and excellence awards for all departments of the Municipality.

The Municipality is considered one of the pioneering Dubai government departments that keep pace with meeting the requirements of the new versions of ISO 9001:2008 certificates.
This is the second time Dubai Municipality is getting these awards. During the month of November 2008 seven departments obtained ISO 9001-2000 certificates in the presence of Henrik Madsen, CEO of DNV. They were the departments of Legal Affairs, Internal Audit, General Projects, Transportation, Planning, Corporate Marketing and Relations and Children's City.


DUBAI, U.A.E, 29th March 2009: Reinforcing and strengthening the airline’s commitment to the Middle East, Emirates has today announced increased services to three of its key regional gateways including; Dammam, Beirut and Tehran.

Starting from the 1st May, Emirates will introduce two additional weekly flights to Dammam, three additional weekly flights to Beirut and an extra two weekly flights to Tehran, further reinforcing the airline’s extensive operations across the Middle East.

“The Middle East is one of the most active aviation markets in the world and an integral part of Emirates operations,” said Ahmed Khoory, Emirates' Senior Vice President Commercial Operations - Gulf Middle East & Iran. “The addition of these flights has been implemented in recognition of the increased demand for services across the Middle East and will provide much needed capacity on these perpetually busy routes.”

“The enhanced capacity will also offer excellent connections to Emirates extensive global network as well as provide extra flights for the thousands of expatriate residents who live and work in Dubai but whose family is still based in their home country.”

Recent statistics released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) show that demand for services across the Middle East grew 3.1 per cent in January 2009 despite the global economic downturn, with Emirates well placed to capitalize on this growth.

The additional flights to Beirut, Dammam and Tehran marks the second significant increase in flights across the Middle East for Emirates - in February Emirates added capacity to Amman, Riyadh and Jeddah - bringing its weekly operation to: seven flights to Dammam, 17 flights to Beirut and 21 flights to Tehran.

The airline has an extensive Middle East network covering 14 cities with 180 flights per week. With the additional flights to Dammam, Beirut and Tehran starting May 2009, Emirates will serve the region with 187 flights per week.

GE showcases diverse businesses at Careers UAE

Dubai, UAE; March 30, 2009: General Electric (GE) is showcasing the company’s diverse portfolio of businesses in the region, including aviation, healthcare, media, finance, oil & gas, energy and security, at Careers UAE, the premier career exhibition for UAE nationals, being held at the Dubai International Convention Centre.

With a current workforce of more than 1,500 employees, GE’s growth strategy for the region is powered by concerted localization initiatives and reflects its operational ethos of working hand-in-hand with local governments for socio-economic development. GE is at the forefront of working with universities to develop industry-based curricula that empowers graduates to perform efficiently at the workplace in the UAE.

Annually, GE spends some US$1 billion (AED 3.67 billion) on training and education programs for its employees worldwide. Most recently, GE launched the ‘Come Join GE’ micro-site (www.comejoinge.com) to strengthen local recruitment and enhance employee participation to achieve the company’s growth goals.

“GE is regarded as an Employer of Choice globally and offers a strong platform for the personal and professional growth of its employees. GE’s participation in this year’s Careers UAE is a reiteration of the importance of the UAE market to our operations,” said Nabil Habayeb, GE’s President and CEO for the Middle East and Africa region.

Careers UAE 2009 is organized by the Dubai World Trade Centre, in conjunction with TANMIA, Emirates Nationals Development Programme (ENDP), Higher Colleges of Technology, Zayed University and UAE University.

DM Accreditation Dept holds Open Forum with customers

The Customer Relations Department of Dubai Municipality organized an open forum between the Accreditation Department of the Municipality and its customers, who included the laboratories, accredited to the Municipality and registered private laboratories.

The forum was attended by more than 100 people representing laboratory managers, technical staff and some members of the technical committee for the accreditation of laboratories, in addition to David J Stanger, member of the Governing Board of International Union of Independent Laboratories (UILI). The customers' forum was organized by the department in order to achieve customer satisfaction on the services it provides.

Khalid AbdulRahim Abdullah, Director of Customer Relations Department said the Customers' Forum is a project that allows the concerned departments to understand the needs of major clients of these departments and to satisfy their needs and listening to the grievances to reach out to increase customer satisfaction and improve the development and diversification of services and clients.

The Department chose the most important customers from among the company owners who deal with the concerned departments (in terms of number of transactions). Dubai Municipality invited them to attend an open forum with the Director of Department and Heads of Sections and concerned officials from other departments. An overview of the services of the Department was presented in the forum, in addition to conducting a panel discussion for the exchange of ideas and suggestions and to identify the needs of the customers.

He pointed out that the project aims to interact with the public to achieve their satisfaction, give them the opportunity to put forth their enquiries and suggestions, to identify their needs, develop new services to meet the needs and expectations of customers, improve and develop existing services, and develop human resources.

The customers of the Accreditation Department among the companies and establishments, who attended the forum, expressed their comments and passed on their impressions about the level of satisfaction with the services provided by the Department, the most prominent of them were presented in the forum. In addition to that discussions were held about some of the services that need to be developed as per the nature of the work that are linked with the Municipality.

Amina Ahmad, Director of Accreditation Department gave a brief presentation on the nature of the work of the Department and its activities such as the accreditation of laboratories working in the field of building materials, environmental testing, and medical laboratory accreditation. She also touched upon the accreditation of the inspection bodies working in the areas of safety, such as cranes, escalators and elevators and accreditation of certification bodies, especially those working in the fields of food testing and HACCP certification.

She also pointed out the training activities undertaken by the Department for the customers in order to improve their performance consistent with international specifications and standards and best practices in the world, in addition to the future plans and expansion in the areas of work of the Department.

Ahmed emphasized the need to hold such forums that contribute to the improvement of services and the transfer of customer feedback on the level of services and how to achieve the desired goals.

Dr. Mohammed Saad talked about the latest international specifications and requirements and the importance of accreditation in the improvement and development of the work of accredited laboratories. He also introduced a method of continuing education the Department plans to present on its website in order to measure and develop the performance of technicians working in the laboratories.

Dr. Yasser Saleh presented the registration requirements of laboratories and inspection bodies as per the Local Order No. 52 of 1990. He stressed that the process of registration with Dubai Municipality include more than 86 testing laboratories and inspection bodies. It also deals with skill test programme, organized by the Department among the accredited and registered laboratories to measure and track their performance and to ensure the credibility of the results produced by them. He also pointed out that the Department has organized more than 174 programmes.

It is worth mention that these forums were involved by the departments that have a large segment of customers such as Food Control Department, Dubai Central Laboratory Department, Building Department, Finance Department, and Waste Management Department.

Dubai Libraries participate Family Forum Village activities

As part of its participation in the Family Forum Village organized by the Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein Islamic Cultural Centres and Dubai Public Libraries continued various activities to meet the large turnout, which exceeded 240 participants during the period from 19 to 21 March.

A series of workshops were conducted that included a workshop called Al Arayis for the development of professional skills of participants as well as a workshop designed to train attendees on how to maintain the books. Other activities included free painting to mark the Mother's Day and cultural contests. The Dubai Public Libraries has not limited its activities in providing events for the members of the libraries but it organizes many social functions to disseminate its cultural knowledge mission.

DCL holds talent exhibition of employees

Dubai Central Laboratory (DCL) organized its first talent exhibition recently. A number of employees from the Department participated in the two-day exhibition with various products that they made artistically. They included a variety of products of food, decoration, perfumes, accessories and clothing.

Eng. Hawa Bastaki, Director of Dubai Central Laboratory Department, who expressed her happiness on finding a number of talented staff with creative abilities in various fields, encouraged them for nurturing their talents and organizing the exhibition for showing them to others.

She said that such exhibitions of talented people are a vital means to promote bilateral friendship and direct communication among the employees.

"It is also a way to strengthen social relationships and it will pave way for strengthening the working relationships between officials and the employees," said Bastaki.

She also pointed out that the exhibition will be included in the Calendar of Events of the Department as a semi-annual programme as desired by the rest of the staff due to the tremendous response the exhibition witnessed.

Bastaki said the activity also has another aspect of achieving a positive financial gain from the sale of products and displays that have attracted high demand from all.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Emirates SkyCargo Judged Best Airline by Forwarders

Dubai, UAE, 25th March 2009 – Emirates SkyCargo has taken the coveted top spot in the annual Air Cargo Excellence survey, moving up two spots from last year and beating cargo heavyweights Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines who finished second and third respectively.

The survey, conducted by the US based Air Cargo World, asks customers of the airlines to evaluate each carrier in four categories – value, IT, customer service and performance.

In the value category, judged on the competitiveness of the carrier’s rates and its value-added programmes, Emirates SkyCargo scored a full six points clear of the carrier in second place, the biggest gap in any of the categories.

Emirates also scored highly in the IT category where forwarders recognized the efficiencies afforded to them by the SkyChain system that Emirates tailors specifically to the requirements of each customer. SkyChain 3.0 was recently launched throughout the airline’s operations, replacing Skylog which was used as the ground handling system by Emirates SkyCargo.

Since it launched the e-freight initiative in November, Emirates SkyCargo has become the leading airline worldwide in terms of the number of e-freight consignments carried each week. It is estimated that e-freight saves the industry US$4.9 billion annually through reduced inventories and document processing cost savings.

The categories of customer service and performance were adjudicated on how carriers fulfil contractual agreements, accomplish scheduled transit times, handle claims with expedience, solve problems in a prompt and courteous manner, and, of course, a professional and knowledgeable sales force.

Ram Menen, Divisional Senior Vice President Cargo, said: "To come out on top of the Air Cargo Excellence survey is a real honour for Emirates SkyCargo, not the least because we are all judged by users of our services. This accolade is a tremendous achievement for all of our staff.

“Emirates SkyCargo invested significantly in our facilities in 2008, enabling us to provide an even better service to our customers. We are now truly a 21st century entity with a 21st century systems and operations driving our business.”

The carrier’s new hub, the 1.2m-tonne-per-year capacity Cargo Mega Terminal, is acknowledged by the industry as one of the most modern and efficient cargo terminals in the world. Following its opening in February 2008, Emirates SkyCargo’s service failure rates were reduced to almost zero.

Full results of the Air Cargo Excellence survey can be found at: http://www.aircargoworld.com/features/0309_1.htm

UAE delegation returns from 21st Ship for World Youth programme

An eight-member UAE team that included two employees of Dubai Municipality recently participated in the 21st Ship for World Youth programme organized by the Japanese government in cooperation with the General Authority for Youth Welfare and Sports in the UAE. The voyage that started on 14th January and ended on 3rd March was joined by 264 participants from 15 countries.

The youngsters were sent by the General Authority for Youth Welfare and Sports in the UAE, after selecting them through its department of youth and cultural activities.

The Authority was keen to support the youth, qualifying them and providing them opportunities for becoming young leaders. The trip was also an opportunity for networking and making contacts with the youth of the world in order to build a personality for the youth of the UAE and transfer the civilized image of the youth of the country in all international forums.

The main objective of the Ship for World Youth journey was to engage young people and motivate them for leadership work in an excellent international environment promoting co-existence, interaction, widening mutual understanding and friendship between the youth of the world, in addition to the development of the spirit of cooperation through the establishment of many programmes that promote cultural and social exchange among young people in Japan and the rest of the world. The delegates were selected as per special criteria; the most important among them were general culture, leadership personality and the ability to highlight the positive image of the country.

During the trip to Japan, the UAE youths met with the Japanese Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Japan. After that they left for the Ship for World Youth trip that started its journey from Japan to the Pacific states such as the Kingdom of Tonga and New Zealand, during which a number of visits were made to tourist sites such as schools, museums, television stations and other places.

It is worth mention that a number of countries around the world including Egypt, Tonga, Vanuatu, New Zealand, Yemen, Norway, Peru, Venezuela, Fiji Islands, Canada and Japan participated in this programme, in addition to the youths from the UAE.

The 8-member UAE delegation, headed by Rashid Abdullah Al Maftool, included Khalid Zainal Al Zarouni, Ahmad Abdullah Al Emadi, Salim Omar Salim Bajbeer, Mohammed Abdul Hamid Al Askar, Taleb Ali Hassan Al Dhohoori, Omar Saeed Al Nuaimi, Hamad Jassem Al Raisi and Sultan Hassan Al Obaidali.

Street Naming Committee discusses system application mechanism

The Dubai Streets Naming Committee held its fourth meeting chaired by Eng. Hussein Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality continuing its discussions to develop a mechanism for the application and implementation of the street naming system in Dubai.

During the meeting, which discussed the general classification plan of areas in Jumeirah sector, Mr. Lootah stressed on the need to determine the identity of each region to have implications to ensure clarity and accessibility of the location, so as to ensure establishing the locations and the names in these areas.

The meeting also reviewed the proposals of the team for the Industrial Area, Dubai Financial Centre, Sufooh-1, Sufooh-2 and Dubai Marina, and the identity of each area was determined.

The committee was keen to put simple and easy names appropriate to each area taking into account the historic nature of the emirate and the events associated with the areas as well as the names inherited from the old generations. It also took into consideration the names agreed upon by the people of a single area for their streets, in addition to coordinating the names of the streets and linking them with other streets connected with them.

The first phase of the project includes selection of appropriate names for all the streets of Dubai, taking into account the standards adopted by the committee, which emphasizes on traditional and old names that have been circulated for generations, and also the logical sequence of the names of the streets connected to the sea, land, types of fish, fishing gear, names of ships and names connected to different fields.

In the final phase, the Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance and Industry and Chairman of Dubai Municipality Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum will be briefed on the list of names proposed for adoption based on the divisions of areas prepared for the streets of the emirate. The areas are divided into 12 such as the heritage and old Souq area, the coastal zone, mixed housing areas, areas parallel to Dubai Creek, the industrial areas, residential areas of nationals, special financial zones, palace and private housing areas, academic and cultural areas, rural areas, International Cities area and the free zones.

The committee members, who attended the meeting, include AbdulRahman Saif Al Ghurair, Butti Saeed Al Kindi, Bilal Al Budoor, Jamal Khalfan Bin Howairib, Saleh Saeed Lootah, Ibrahim Belselah, Abdullah Ghobash, Juma Khalifa Bin Thalith, Jamal Majid Al Ghurair and Eng. Dawood Al Hajiri, Director of Planning Department in the Municipality, who is the coordinator of the committee.

College graduates begin training at Octal

Muscat, Oman, March 25, 2009: Octal Petrochemicals has received the first class of graduates from the technical training course it developed in partnership with the Salalah College of Technology.

The one-year Polymer Manufacturing course involves four months of classroom study followed by an eight-month work placement at Octal’s state-of-the-art facility in the Salalah Free Zone.

Octal employs more than 270 people at its integrated PET resin and sheet facility in Salalah, and hopes to offer full-time positions to the best candidates at the end of each successful induction.

Kamal Eisa, Training and Development Coordinator at Octal, said: “Around a third of Octal’s employees are Omani and we intend to further improve employment opportunities for Omani nationals through this excellent scheme.”

“We are grateful to Salalah College of Technology for designing a programme to develop the technical skills required by our industry and provide Omani students a valuable grounding in the polymers industry. This will be of immense benefit to their future careers and to Octal’s success.”

Having completed classroom study and coursework in polymers chemistry, instrumentation, electrical and mechanical operating systems, and engineering terminology, the first group of 13 trainees will now undergo eight months of work experience at Octal’s PET resin and sheet-making plants.

The on-the-job training covers the critical areas of Octal’s advanced manufacturing processes, including PET resin production and PET sheet lines operations, Utilities Operations and Maintenance, instrumentation and control maintenance, warehousing and logistics.

A total of 43 students are enrolled on the Salalah College of Technology Polymers Manaufacturing course, and the second batch of students will begin work experience at Octal in June.

Dr. Hassan bin Said Kashoob, Dean of the Salalah College of Technology, said: “This is a textbook example of cooperation between the private sector and higher education. Omani graduates are receiving specialized training in a rapidly growing industry and the opportunity to hone their skills at one of the most advanced manufacturing facilities of its type in the world.”

“Special thanks should go to the faculty and technicians of Salalah College of Technology. Their cooperation and commitment has helped make this joint venture a reality.”

Octal trainee Jamal bin Mohammed Al Balushi said he was happy to have been selected for the course and was enjoying the opportunity to gain work experience at Octal in the PET sheet quality control section.

“I’m looking forward to putting into practice what I’ve learnt at college. At college we learnt the theory and now we have a chance to improve our skills through practical work experience.”

Oman-based Octal announced the launch of its second plant, a 300,000 metric ton integrated PET resin and sheet facility, in January. Octal expects per annum sales to reach US$400 million by the end of 2009, and despite the global economic downturn remains in expansion mode with plans to hire 100 extra staff before the end of the year.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

DM Higher committee discusses increasing city greenery in Dubai

The Higher Committee for Horticulture and Plantation for the city of Dubai held its second meeting chaired by Eng. Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality for reviewing the measures to increase green areas and conduct a comprehensive survey of all the main streets where green areas are required to be spread.

Lootah stressed the need to take swift action to implement the directives of the UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to take well planned action to increase the green areas in the Emirate of Dubai.

The meeting also discussed the cultivation of internal and external streets as regards increasing the green areas in the Emirate of Dubai. The Public Parks and Horticulture Department was directed to conduct a comprehensive survey of all the main streets that requires the spreading of green areas in various parts.

In addition to the image survey and plantation of the areas, the committee discussed the idea of planting one million trees in various parts of the city. Mr. Lootah entrusted the Public Parks and Horticulture Department and the Drainage and Irrigation Department to submit a study on the idea and submit it at the next meeting and to cover all areas of the Emirate of Dubai with green patches and trees and achieve the strategic goal of the Municipality.

Lootah pointed out that this step aims to increase the green areas in the city of Dubai, in line with the vision of the municipality in preserving the environment everywhere in the city.

It is worth mention that the committee was formed to implement the policy of the Government of Dubai to maintain and increase green areas in the Emirate of Dubai.

The committee shall examine and review the proposed policies to maintain and increase green areas in the Emirate of Dubai, and the proposal of plans, programs and projects and the means to ensure the preservation and increase of green areas in the Emirate of Dubai.

The committee is also entrusted with the task of determining the places where it considers there is a need for cultivation and forestation in the emirate in the light of the environmental, aesthetic and residential requirements considerations, and to identify the requirements of the equipment and tools and qualified human cadres to put into practice the decisions of the committee, and coordination with the concerned local regional and international bodies.

The committee, in order to fulfill the tasks entrusted to it under this resolution, can seek the help of whoever it deems appropriate, including the use of experienced and competent staff, whether in the Municipality or from outside, without a voice counted in its deliberations.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Emirates takes you on a Journey Through India

DUBAI, U.A.E., 23rd March 2009 – Emirates is advancing its service on Indian routes with the launch of its unique ‘Journey Through India’ campaign.

Focussing on three crucial elements – inflight food and beverage; inflight product; and cabin crew management – the programme seeks to ensure the airline exceeds the expectations of its Indian passengers through regionalisation of the product on Indian routes.

Initiatives under the ‘Journey Through India’ campaign are featuring on Emirates flights to Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calicut, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Thiruvananthapuram.

The menu on all routes and in all classes has been created to meet the regional preferences of Indian travellers. In addition it has been strengthened with a greater presence of Indian dishes, especially vegetarian options, while western dishes continue to be offered to cater to the global tastes of travellers.

In all classes, route specific mini savouries prior to meal service and after meal Indian digestives have been introduced. Advancements in the First and Business class menu include a choice of three hors d’oeuvres including Indian options. In Economy class a bar service has been introduced prior to the meal, which in itself has been boosted with a choice of two Indian and one Western dish. All passengers are served a welcome drink.

Inflight entertainment has also been regionalised and now offers route specific boarding music and reading material. Emirates’ patented and award-winning ice (Information, Communication and Entertainment) system that offers over 600 channels of entertainment is now offered on more Indian routes than previously. Although flying times to/from India are short, flights with or without ‘ice’ now boast an enhanced selection of programmes and music in varied Indian languages.

Cabin crew are an integral part of the Emirates’ experience and the Dubai-based airline has embarked on a massive internal communications programme to improve its crew’s awareness of ‘Destination India’. Over 10,000 of Emirates multi-cultural crew are improving their knowledge of India through route-specific booklets, online training courses and briefings prior to each flight.

Crew have also received a specially-produced DVD titled ‘Journey through India’ containing an introduction to the country, its diverse customs, and guidelines for interaction with passengers from different Indian states.

Terry Daly, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Service Delivery, noted: “India is a diverse and large country that boasts several languages, customs, and cuisines. As we expand our services to and from India, it is equally important that we enhance the quality of our service by adapting it to regional preferences. Initiatives under the ‘Journey Through India’ programme will help sensitise our crew members to cultural differences and enable them to better serve the needs of our varied Indian customers.”

In the second phase of the programme, regional language enabled crew will operate the flights.

Emirates operates 163 flights per week to 10 Indian cities.

Emirates and Aeromobile set the tone after ringing the changes for passengers - First birthday landmark for industry leaders

DUBAI, U.A.E., 23rd March 2009 - Cutting-edge communications for Emirates passengers have reached a new milestone with the first birthday of its world-beating in-flight mobile service with AeroMobile.

History was made when the first authorised call on a commercial flight took place on flight EK751, flying from Dubai to Casablanca on March 20th, 2008.

Since then, more than 160,000 passengers from over 130 countries have switched on their mobile phones on an Emirates flight to take advantage of the ability to make and receive calls and text messages – more than 50,000 in the last three months alone as the service becomes more widely available and increasingly popular.

The AeroMobile system, which allows passengers to safely make and receive calls during flights, has now been fitted on a total of 32 Emirates aircraft, making it available on one-in-four of Emirates’ services. Emirates Engineering are installing the AeroMobile system on the rest of the fleet, with one aircraft being equipped every ten days or so.

Patrick Brannelly, Emirates’ Vice President, Passenger Communications and Visual Services, said: “Using this innovative service has now become second nature to our passengers who love the convenience of being able to stay in touch when they choose to.

“It has proved as popular with passengers on all flights to all destinations, not just businessmen and women but also leisure travellers. It’s ideal for just wanting to call home or make contact with family on birthdays or anniversaries.

“Typically about a third of our passengers are switching on their phones onboard AeroMobile-equipped aircraft, so it’s clearly a popular service. We do see many though, that switch on a phone but don’t necessarily use it, showing that they like the idea of being contactable. It’s clear that passengers prefer using their own phones which they are familiar with, rather than the seatback phone.

“The early concerns about potential impact on other passengers have proved, as expected, to be unfounded. We very rarely see multiple calls at the same time, and most calls are shorter than a couple of minutes. Texting using sms has been very popular. The feedback from our customers has been full of enthusiasm.”

The AeroMobile service is being rolled out across the Emirates ' fleet and is currently operating on five aircraft types, the Boeing 777-200s and 777-300s, plus the Airbus A340-300, A340-500 and A330-200. It is due to be installed on the Boeing 777-300ER from May.

AeroMobile CEO Bjorn-Taale Sandberg said: “With our service firmly established on an increasing number of Emirates’ aircraft, the usage level amongst passengers has increased at a faster pace.

“We’re particularly proud of the quality of the voice service and overall reliability. The comment we most often hear is that people receiving calls from our customers in-flight can’t believe they are calling from 35,000 feet.

“We are looking forward to more growth and rising user numbers throughout 2009 to cement a great first year.”

A call for figures (as of 0900hrs Dubai time 20th March, 2009)

• 160,170 passengers have switched on a phone on an Emirates flight
• Passengers from 138 countries have switched on, representing customers of 348 phone companies
• AeroMobile currently has roaming agreements with 123 mobile phone operators from 61 countries
• AeroMobile has operated on over 6,300 flights to 49 countries during the past year
• AeroMobile is installed on 32 aircraft

DM wins Shining World Leadership Award from Supreme Master Ching Hai

Dubai Municipality was recently awarded the Shining World Leadership Award from the Supreme Master Ching Hai, a world-renowned humanitarian, artist and spiritual leader.
Eng. Hussein Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality was handed over the award by representatives of the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association.
The award was presented in recognition of the outstanding efforts of Dubai Municipality in promoting the well-being of the public, with its recent declaration of smoking ban in hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and cafes.
Lootah, who accepted the crystal plaque award and the book gifts, shared his visions for creating a Green Dubai, and showed the visitors the Green Roofs on top of the Municipality building. He also explained them the Dubai International Award for Best Practice to Improve the Living Environment, instituted by the Municipality.
The award presentation will be featured on Supreme Master Television, a 24/7 satellite TV, broadcasting worldwide via 14 satellite platforms with 60 languages and 30 subtitles.
Lootah thanked the Supreme Master Ching Hai for the Shining World Leadership Award and expressed his appreciation for the noble efforts in recognizing, encouraging and promoting outstanding leadership.
After the award ceremony, Mohammed Al Noori, Head of the Awards Office under the International Affairs and Partnerships Sector of the Municipality, took the guests for a tour of the Projects Exhibition Hall of the Municipality, which features the history, development and progress of Dubai Municipality.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Emaar International Jordan energises leisure property in Dead Sea region

Amman, Jordan; March 22, 2009: Emaar International Jordan, the country subsidiary of Emaar Properties, is bringing in a new leisure property dynamic to the Dead Sea region with its Samarah Dead Sea Resort, which has been launched to local and international investors. The project, developed in line with the growth plans for the Kingdom outlined by the King Abdullah II Fund for Development, is progressing as per schedule.

The construction of the luxury resort community is undertaken in line with sustainable project management practices. The focus of Samarah Dead Sea Resort is on further strengthening tourism to the region, while creating a new market for luxury residential and leisure property, and has been well-received by the customers.

Mr Radzi Zakaria, General Manager of Emaar International Jordan, said: “Tourism continues to be one of the key contributors to the Jordanian economy, and the Dead Sea region is among the most sought-after tourist destinations. With Samarah Dead Sea Resort, we are creating a new property dynamic, whereby property investments will gain from the tourism value of the location.

He added: “Investors will not only be part of a vibrant, mixed-use community, Samarah Dead Sea Resort also offers them the distinctive advantage of being part of one of the world’s most recognised tourist destinations. The resort has already energised the local economy by creating new job opportunities, and supporting the growth of associated industries including retail, hospitality, healthcare and education.”

Samarah Dead Sea Resort has three components: Hillside Living featuring residences and own-community centre, Beach Living including residential properties with an exclusive spa and a "wellness village", and Rift Living, showcasing a Retail Village and five-star business hotels.

The project is being developed by experienced Jordanian contractors after an extensive study of the area, with architects and designers taking inspirational cues from the natural environment of Dead Sea. The exteriors and interior décor, thus, are a reflection of the aesthetics of the region.

Rift Living homes, which has opened for sale, is located directly on the Dead Sea, adjacent to the waterway and across Wadi Mukheiris from the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre and Samarah Dead Sea Resort Sales Centre. It features nine low rise buildings (The Apartments) located on the seafront comprising 223 Mediterranean-styled multi-family apartments. Community amenities include walkways, neighbourhood shopping and easy access to a full-fledged Club House.

Connect With Emirates On the Move; Emirates launches new facility for Mobile Devices

DUBAI 22 March, 2009 --- Emirates, the Dubai-based international airline has taken the next step in online innovation by launching Mobile Emirates.com, a convenient, new facility for customers accessing the Emirates website from their mobile devices.
Travellers who access Emirates.com from a mobile browser (on their phone or PDA), will be automatically redirected to the mobile version of the airline’s website. The facility is compatible with over 3000 devices and allows customers to interact with Emirates from almost anywhere in the world.
Mobile subscriptions account for one of the fastest growing areas of Internet usage with the increase of mobile phones, PDA’s, smart phones, Blackberry’s and iPhones. According to recent research from Informa Nielsen mobile, there are four billion mobile phone subscriptions globally, emphasizing the importance for airlines to offer online facilities for travellers on the move.
"Mobile Emirates.com represents a step ahead in innovation and convenience for Emirates customers. This facility provides our customers with the flexibility to manage aspects of their journey from the palm of their hand," said Keith Longstaff, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations Worldwide.
The mobile site integrates many of the most popular features and functionality present on Emirates.com, all formatted for mobile use. Visitors to the site may:
  • Check-in Online up to 24hrs before departure.
  • Select a favourite seat or request a special meal
  • Eligible passengers can book Chauffeur-drive
  • Search for the latest Emirates special fares to over 100 destinations worldwide.
  • Check real-time flight status and view global timetables.

The information seeker can learn about Emirates’ past and present, cabin features, lounges and latest news. It is even possible to view the products and services available onboard any specific Emirates flight using the innovative services by flight tool. Members of Emirates’ award-winning frequent flyer programme, Skywards, can log-in to their accounts to view their Miles balance and itineraries.

Contact details for Emirates offices worldwide are easily accessible. In the near future, Mobile Emirates.com will become available in a variety of languages and offer customers the ability to book flights on their mobile device together with managing more aspects of their booking.

"Say Yes to a Clean Al Fahidi" campaign launched

Dubai, 22 March 2009: Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, Jassim Darwish, Secretary General of UAE Municipalities, and senior officials of the municipality took to Al Fahidi street on Sunday to ceremoniously clean the street heralding the launch of an innovative environmental drive called "Say YES to a Clean Al Fahidi." They also distributed flyers to shop-owners and residents in the area explaining the significance of keeping their surroundings clean.

The month long campaign, which follows a similar campaign in Naif Area late last year, is aimed at restoring the past glory of a number of busy streets in the old Dubai.

Launching the campaign at a specially designated location in front of Astoria Hotel in Al Fahidi Street, Lootah said the clean-up drive aims at rooting out unhealthy practices that spoil the beautiful image of the city and transforming the busy area into a cleaner place that suits the name and fame of Dubai.

He said the campaign will create awareness among the residents about general cleanliness by asking them not to throw dirt, cigarette butts and other wastes on the roads and stop spitting in public places, in addition to discouraging the practice of hanging clothes on the balconies deforming the good image of the city.

Lootah, who appealed the public to support the drive by actively participating in the campaign, said similar campaigns would soon be taken up in such areas of the city as Al Ghubaibah, Al Sabkha, Al Karama, Al Qusais and Al Qouz.

The environment drive, which consists of several social activities, will be involving people of different categories in the society including residents and traders in the area.

The activities include road shows involving people who are present in the area at the time of the show and long-term social activities aimed at educating the public. The public awareness campaign also includes publishing and broadcasting advertisements in local newspapers and radio. The Municipality has already started publishing advertisements in newspapers in different languages and has put up outdoor advertisements in Al Fahidi street.

Furthermore, there will be a Clean Store Contest, which will run from 22 March to 21 April 2009. The winning store will be judged based on the general cleanliness in the store, avoiding eating, drinking and smoking inside it, the store owners' efforts in reducing the use of plastic bags, how do they limit displaying goods outside the stores, and their endeavours in rooting out litter on the pavement close to the store.

Printed materials on the significance of the campaign will be distributed to the public for three days before the start of the campaign and advertisements will be placed on buildings and main streets in Al Fahidi area.

The road shows that will be held from 22 March to 21 April will involve 12 people who will go round the streets wearing T-shirts printed with the campaign logo. In addition, there will be stilt walkers, stage shows and contests for choosing the cleanest building.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dnata Cargo goes all chocolatey for Mother’s Day

Dubai, U.A.E., 19th March, 2009 – Mothers in the UAE are set to celebrate their special day with more chocolate than ever before after Dnata Cargo handled its largest single shipment of the sweet treat.
A whopping 115 tonnes of chocolate, with a value of AED 1.3 million, was flown into Dubai on a special B747 charter from East London in South Africa last week.
Jean Pierre De Pauw, Divisional Senior Vice President, Dnata Cargo, said: “We may be experiencing an economic downturn, but seeing a company importing a plane load of chocolates indicates that people in the UAE still have a strong desire to celebrate when they can.”
Because of the already soaring daytime temperatures in Dubai, Dnata Cargo wrapped the delicate cargo in thermal blankets for its journey from the aircraft to the terminal.
“Chocolate is very sensitive to heat so it was vital that Dnata Cargo ensured as consistent a temperature as possible during the offloading of the cargo from the aircraft and subsequent transfer to the cargo terminal,” explained Jean Pierre.
“Thanks to our special thermal blankets we can be confident that it won’t be the chocolate that will be melting on Mother’s Day.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Emirates to launch A380 service to Bangkok and Toronto

Dubai, 18 March 2009 - Emirates Airline today announced it will introduce its double decker A380 aircraft on its Bangkok and Toronto routes. Effective 1st June 2009, the aircraft will debut in Canada while the new Thai route extends the aircraft's presence in Asia after the successful launch of the A380 on Sydney and Auckland in February.

“We are extremely pleased to announce the introduction of the A380 for our Toronto and Bangkok services. Our Toronto route has had consistently high demand since the thrice weekly service was launched two years ago. The A380 will allow Emirates to address some of the unmet need in Toronto while on Bangkok, the A380 will help support the Thai government 's new tourism initiatives, ” said Emirates President Tim Clark.
The change on both services will provide a capacity increase of about 30% for each route.
The new aircraft routes also offer strengthened support for popular transit markets- with the A380 now servicing London Heathrow, UK tourists travelling to/from Thailand can enjoy a seamless A380 experience while for Canada, the change means increased access to Dubai and the Gulf region.

Emirates A380’s ground-breaking in-flight product include onboard shower spas in the First Class cabin featuring signature products by the airline’s premium spa brand, Timeless Spa. The onboard lounge for First and Business class customers mirrors the ambience of an executive club and includes a bar with a wide range of beverages and canapés.
With flat-bed massage-equipped private suites in First Class, a new generation of intelligent seating and flat-beds in Business Class, mood-lighting, and a second-to-none in-flight entertainment system featuring over 1000 channels of on-demand entertainment, the Emirates’ A380 introduces a new level of comfort and luxury. It is set in a three-class configuration (14 First, 76 Business and 399 Economy Class seats) and spread over two levels with the upper deck dedicated to First and Business class passengers.
Services to Toronto on EK 241 depart Dubai at 09:55 hours, arriving in Toronto at 15:45 hours. EK 242 departs Toronto at 21:40 hours arriving in Dubai at 18:35 hours on the next day. Services are offered on EK 241 and 242 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Services to Bangkok on EK 372 depart Dubai at 09:40 hours, arriving in Bangkok at 19:00 hours. It turns around as EK 373 departing Bangkok at 21:25 hours, arriving in Dubai at 00:30 hours the next day. The Bangkok service operates daily.
Effective 1st June 2009 Emirates will operate five A380's on the following routes: Dubai-London Heathrow (daily), Dubai-Sydney/Auckland (daily), Dubai Toronto (three times weekly) and Bangkok (daily). The airline will accept another four A380 aircraft into it's fleet in the financial year of 2009/2010 and has announced it will introduce services to Seoul in December

KidZania® readies for opening at The Dubai Mall offering role-play edu-tainment for children

Dubai, UAE; March 18, 2009: Children can soon experience their ambition to become anything from pilots to fashion models to doctors or bankers, as the first KidZania® edutainment attraction in the Middle East opens in The Dubai Mall in the third quarter of this year. Based on role play, the oldest game of all, KidZania® is one of the world’s most popular children’s entertainment concepts and is readying for opening at the mall shortly.

Essentially a scaled-down city featuring all business and social components of a bustling metropolis, KidZania® at The Dubai Mall offers up to 70 roles for children to play ranging from doctors, engineers, teachers, construction workers, artists and mechanics, among others. At KidZania®, children have the option of just ‘visiting’ or ‘working’ in establishments that are modelled on various professions. The ‘employees’ are provided costumes reflecting the theme of the role they prefer to play, and will be part of an entertainment zone that has its own currency and economy. The entire concept of KidZania® is developed on offering children a real-life business and social environment, and familarising them with real-world careers.

KidZania® aims at enabling children to develop their abilities and attitudes physically and intellectually, while stimulating creative thinking and social responsibility. This will particularly appeal to educational institutions looking for avenues to further strengthen their students’ overall development. The award-winning credentials of the theme centre are a perfect complement to the high standards of education envisaged by schools. KidZania® has already won the Best Theme Park Worldwide Award from the Themed Entertainment Association in 2001, the IAAPA Top FECs of the World Award in 2006 and IAAPA Brass Ring Award for Industry Marketing in 2008.

Mr Mohammed Ali, Region Executive Director, Emaar International, said: “Retail and leisure are central themes that drive the economy of Dubai, and both the sectors need continuous innovation. KidZania® is bringing to Dubai, a powerful and successful leisure attraction, which will further enhance the appeal of The Dubai Mall as a family destination.”

Established in 1999, KidZania® was an overwhelming success when it first opened in Santa Fe, Mexico City. The entertainment zone attracted over 760,000 visitors in the very first year of trade in Mexico and the impressive visitor turn-out repeated at KidZania® franchises in Tokyo and Jakarta. In addition to Dubai, new franchises are planned to open in Seoul, Osaka and Lisbon in 2009.

Mr Yousif Al Ali, General Manager, The Dubai Mall, said: “KidZania® is an entertainment concept that has no parallels in Dubai or the region. For the first time, children will have a city all for their own. They will manage the ‘city’s’ economy and social life by enacting various roles. They will also deal with the special KidZos currency, which they can use for buying and selling products, or even save into their accounts.”

He added: “KidZania® will be a place where every child’s dreams come true, and will enable them to obtain a better understanding of how cities and societies function. The opening of KidZania® also reiterates the commitment of The Dubai Mall to offer a distinctive leisure and lifestyle experience. Today’s mall visitors are discerning about their choice, and it is important to give them variety. KidZania® will be a much-preferred attraction for families.”

Sprawling across 80,000 sq ft over two levels in the entertainment zone, which will also feature SEGA Republic and REEL Cinemas, KidZania® will feature homes, offices, schools, fire station, race track, radio station, pizzeria, hospitals, bank, ATM machines, theatre and fashion ramps, all scaled down to a smaller, child-friendly size. Kids can then choose a preferred ‘role’ and be provided with costumes and other accessories for the complete real-life like experience.

Mr Suresh Bhatia, Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Retail, said: “The overarching philosophy of KidZania® – an award-winning concept - is edu-tainment. For the first time in Dubai, children of all ages will have a unique play environment where fun and interactive learning meet. They can not only participate in fun-filled role-play activities but also hone their talent and skills through the real-life-like learning experiences. KidZania®’s niche activities also mark the first ‘experimental marketing’ platform in Dubai, whereby we are partnering with local service providers such as banks, hotels and automobile dealers for a true-to-life experience.”

He explained: “Work on KidZania® is progressing, and when it opens later this year, it will add to a diverse entertainment roster in The Dubai Mall including the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo and Dubai Ice Rink. KidZania® Dubai is billed to be the city’s next biggest family destination that will greatly contribute to the all-round development of children.”

KidZania® will be managed by a team of trained professionals. The high ratio of staff-to-children and Kid Zearch, a Radio Frequency ID, will keep track of children’s activities and whereabouts, reassuring parents who can drop off their kids and pick them up at a later time.

The Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destinations, has a wide spectrum of retail and leisure choices for visitors. Of the 1,200 retail outlets in the mall, more than 800 have opened. The leisure attractions including the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, Dubai Ice Rink and The Waterfall are crowd-pullers, while the Gold Souk and Fashion Avenue offer a variety of niche shopping options.