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Sun 24 Aug 2008 04:00 AM

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Think big

Mamdouh Shehata, GM of ThyssenKrupp Elevator on the massive Dubai International Airport project.

Mamdouh Shehata, general manager of ThyssenKrupp Elevator explains how the company is coping with orders for Dubai International Airport, totaling some US$150 million.

ThyssenKrupp Elevator received international recognition four years ago when it contracted a gigantic order to supply elevators, escalators, moving walks and passenger boarding bridges for the new Dubai International Airport. What has this meant for the company?

The Dubai airport expansion contract is the biggest contract we have. As you rightly say it is worth US$150 million and constitutes one of the biggest orders ever in the history of the airports technology sector and the elevation sector.

As a result we set up a regional office in Dubai in 2005 and underwent a rapid expansion. Today this division employs 300 professionals of 15 nationalities, who are supporting projects' development throughout the Middle East region.

How is the project being delivered?

There are 700 units being installed all together including escalators and walking bridges, so it made sense to break the project down into two phases. Phase one, which comprises 384 units is in the final handover stage at this very moment.

Do you worry about the size of the project?

We are not worried about handling such a project. We worry about the details of the project and delivering quality products throughout. Manpower is an issue, as is finding the quality and skills required but this is a problem which everyone in the industry is facing.

Have you found time constraints restricting or difficult to meet?

Sometimes yes. You have to coordinate with others working on the same project and sometimes this means you have to wait for others to complete their work first.

There were some delays and pressures in the early stages, but in the end we managed to deliver phase one in the timeframe. The actual work started in 2005 and took two and a half years to complete. We did experience a lot of ongoing tensions and pressures but the end result is brilliant.

Has any new technology been implemented at Dubai International Airport?

The passenger supporting bridge for Airbus is the first in the world and ThyssenKrupp is the only company manufacturing and supplying the walking bridge for the Airbus 380. Overall, products adjust to each job and specification. The demands of each project are unique and this is where the technology alters.

What projects will the company begin working on in the near future?

We have proved we can handle a huge project and delivering it successfully has meant we are in negotiation with other airports in the Gulf. We have been awarded a project with Doha, which we will soon start working on. We are also working on airport projects in Oman, Yemen, Bahrain and Ras Al Khaimah.

These are not new airports but are innovative and expansive. We have become known as a quality supplier who can handle related equipment easily.

What is the scale of the Doha project for ThyssenKrupp Elevator?

Doha will be our second biggest project in the Gulf and we see a huge amount of opportunity in this part of the world.

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