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Airport Show takes off with high praise and expectations

The exhibition staged to assist the decision-making process for the next phase of development at Dubai International Airport<.> has been hailed as…

The exhibition staged to assist the decision-making process for the next phase of development at Dubai International Airport<.> has been hailed as a major success by companies now waiting to learn if they are to win contracts as part of the $1.4 billion project.

Held under the patronage of H.H.Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of the Government of Dubai's Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), the Airport Build & Supply Exhibition could now become an annual event, attracting exhibitors, and civil aviation delegations, from around the world.

"That is a strong possibility, particularly in view of the positive response we have received from all directions," said Joanne Evans, director of Streamline Marketing, organisers of the three-day show, which drew to a close today at Airport Expo Dubai.

After officially opening the exhibition on Monday, Sheikh Ahmed unveiled the dramatic Dubai Airport second phase expansion programme to a packed audience of exhibitors and journalists.

Construction of a third terminal, and a second concourse exclusively for Emirates, will begin by the end of 2002, or early 2003, finishing by 2006, while a Mega Cargo Terminal will be built in phases, and completed by 2018.

During the Airport show, all 102 exhibitors had an opportunity to meet DCA officials to press their case for involvement in the ambitious development plan to make Dubai International Airport one of the world's leading aviation hubs.

Among the leading candidates for a major role in the project is UAE-based Arab Technical Construction Co (Arabtec), which has completed, projects worth more than Dhs700 million at the existing airport. These included installation of Emirates Airline's technical hangar, the Middle East's only triple-bay hangar, capable of accommodating three Boeing 777s, civil and buiding works to the fuel tank farm taking fuel to the airport apron through 30km of piping, expansion and refurbishment of Terminal 1 in conjunction with Kvaerner, and design and construction of the Temporary Passenger Terminal, in use while the new concourse was being built.

Tom Barry, the company's construction director and general manager, said: "We obviously hope to extend our working relationship with the DCA. The added benefit of the exhibition is that it has brought us into contact with a variety of companies with whom we can look to establish joint ventures, providing them with the benefits of our local knowledge, expertise, and contacts."

Swiss-based SITA, the world's leading provider of global information and telecommunication solutions to the air transport industry, is also aiming to extend its affiliation with the DCA, having completed a two-year, $US16 million contract to oversee the implementation of the communications and IT infrastructure at the airport. "The Airport exhibition has matched our expectations," said Rafif Nsouli, the company's regional marketing communications manager. "We're very impressed with the quality of visitors we received, including representatives of the civil aviation authorities in Egypt, Cameroon, Beirut, Nairobi, as well as Egypt Air."

American manufacturer, Perkin Elmer Instruments, used the Airport show to unveil the latest version of its automated explosive detection X-ray machines, which provide security at major airports around the world, and have given the company more than 80% of the world market.

The company's UK-based sales support specialist, Mark Knox, said: "I've been most impressed with the exhibition. Over the last two years, I've attended ten or 15 other airport shows, and this is the one that really targets all the right people. The quality of visitors we have received, including delegations from Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan, has been excellent."

Theodore Koumelis
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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.