"I'm aware of six or seven government airlines that have been thinking about going private in recent years," said Adel Ali, CEO of budget carrier Air Arabia. "Airlines are expensive things - in most places, you find that the government is spending a lot of money on them."\n"[Going public is] a double-edged sword - it exposes you, but it brings a lot of discipline to the business," said Ali.
"It is quite ridiculous in the Arab world to plan beyond six months," said Fadi Ghandour, founder and CEO of logistics giant Arame. \n\nHe said he has never been involved in a project which has had a window of a year or more - it is tough to predict what will happen in the region.\n(ITP Images)
"The way it is now - it's not good," observed Saad Al Barrak, former CEO of Zain, referring to the telco's tumbling share price. (ITP Images)
"Everyone in the world wants a part of Dubai Duty Free," said Colm McLoughlin, executive vice chairman of Dubai Duty Free. \n"Everyone wants to copy us. In 1984 we made AED9m (US$2.5m) in profit - last year, we made AED1.5bn (US$400m) in profit.\n\n"We're still walking, but we hope to get into a run," he smiles. "We have the best boss in the world, and the best team in the world. Rest assured, Dubai Duty Free's future is assured." (ITP Images)
Talking on sustainability in the aviation industry, Air Arabia CEO Adel Ali said low-cost carriers are no different from full-service airlines with regard to responsibility.\n\n"I think the industry has taken its responsibility - but what we object to is taking money from passengers, and giving it to politicians to burn it on their first-class travel." (ITP Images)
"Today, private enterprise is under attack - we're in the business of greed and maximising shareholder value," said Aramex founder and CEO Fadi Ghandour, doing his best Gordon Gekko impression, when talking about sustainability. \n"Sustainability is not about doing projects, it's about building relations with your community, and thus building shareholder value."
"The cities of Riyadh and Jeddah are growing immensely," said Al Rasheed, CEO of King Abdullah Economic City. "That growth story has happened, and those cities are struggling with the growth. King Abdullah Economic City can help take the strain off that growth." (ITP Images)
In terms of international expansion, Colm McLoughlin, vice chairman of Dubai Duty Free, says that several bids have been made - and that Dubai Duty Free was asked for a US$1m backhander in Colombo - but none of these materialised. "I'm very happy about that - frankly we are busy enough as it is," he says. (ITP Images)
"The question for Greece is not if it leaves the euro zone, but when," said ITP Publishing chairman Andrew Neil. (ITP Images)
Spanish banks are "chock-a-block" with toxic debt, and the country's bonds are trading at 7 percent - which is unsustainable, said ITP Publishing chairman Andrew Neil.\n\n"This is bound to affect an economy like the Gulf, which is the axis between Asia and Europe," he points. (ITP Images)