By Sarah Cowell
Abdulla Ahmed Al Qurashim, CEO Aviation City at DWC on the city's unique business concept.
Abdulla Ahmed Al Qurashim, chief executive officer of Aviation City at Dubai World Central explains the progress of this unique and innovative business concept in the region.
What is Aviation City?
Aviation City will be located within the world's largest airport - Al Maktoum International Airport and focuses mainly on maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) for aircraft. It is there to attract airlines to use it for maintenance purposes and gives investors the opportunity to reach regional and international clients alike.
Can you update us on the progress of Aviation City so far?
The infrastructure of Aviation City is 100% finished. It is situated next to the first runway and the passenger terminal. This is phase one of Aviation City at Dubai World Central and Al Maktoum International Airport. So we are pleased to say that phase one as a whole is almost completed.
We are just waiting for the passenger terminal and the control tower to be finished. These should be open in the first quarter of 2009.
Have all the companies that will be operating out of Aviation City now been confirmed?
Once the airport is operational, Aviation City will be operational. We will have a few MRO companies to begin with and, as was recently announced, FlyDubai will be using Al Maktoum International Airport from next summer.
A large airline signed up with us last week but I cannot reveal its identity. This client is not just regional so this makes Aviation City a global business. It will be a global business hub for all airlines that wish to use it.
The fixed base operations (FBO) companies will start to build their facilities soon too, so over the next three months we will really see the construction process taking shape. We are also planning the construction of an academic centre. A year from now we expect Aviation City to become almost fully operational.
How has the design concept of Aviation City evolved over time?
Companies that are setting up business in Aviation City are given construction guidelines and we try to review the design concept to make sure it fits in with our specifications.
We have certain regulations that companies must abide by such as safety, the height of buildings, facilities management etc. These are in place for Aviation City to work together effectively. Each company is responsible for the construction of their units but it is in conjunction with our consultants and masterplanners.
How do you attract companies to Aviation City?
We have lots of different marketing methods but I have to admit we are very selective. We review the companies' business plans carefully before we approve them.
What would be the typical criteria for a company to meet in order to operate out of Aviation City?
Unfortunately I am unable to disclose this but I can say that our approval is subject to Dubai Civil Aviation's (DCA) approval as well as the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) too. Even if we give approval for a company to operate out of Aviation City it may get turned down by a higher authority, maybe due to security checks for example.
From the time a company approaches us to the time they receive approval or not takes about two to three weeks. Following this there are further formalities of providing documents to the GCAA and the DCA.
Looking ahead, what is the next part of the Aviation City masterplan?
The next part of the project is phase two. This will incorporate the office park and hospitality services that will be exclusively available to customers. We hope this will begin operations at the end of 2009.
Phase one has incorporated what we call the 'super structure', as this is the entire infrastructure of the City itself. Construction will happen in many phases however.
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