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| 17 October, 2017

Dubai Airports 'open' to closer links with Abu Dhabi- CEO

Emirates Airlines aircraft are seen at the Emirates Terminal at Dubai International Airport, February 10, 2013.

Emirates Airlines aircraft are seen at the Emirates Terminal at Dubai International Airport, February 10, 2013.

REUTERS/Jumana El Heloueh

CEO Paul Griffiths’ comments come days after Emirates’ president said he saw value to closer ties with Abu Dhabi’s Eithad Airways

Dubai Airports is open to the possibility of increasing direct links with airports in Abu Dhabi, as part of general discussions to enhance aviation ties between the neighbouring emirates, the company’s CEO said on Tuesday.

The president of Dubai’s Emirates airline, Tim Clark, told Reuters last week he was open to closer cooperation with Abu Dhabi-based rival carrier Etihad Airways.

“I think there is value to be had working more closely with them,” Clark was quoted as saying. “There are many areas that the airlines could work together on like procurement. But we have to go the first jump first to understand what it is we could do and I‘m simply the manager of one of the businesses… It is my superiors who have to make that call, not me.”

In order to facilitate closer connectivity between the two global carriers, the CEO of Dubai Airports, Paul Griffiths, told Zawya he was open to the possibility of boosting direct links between the airlines' home bases in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

“I think the discussions are at a very preliminary stage and I don’t think there is any plan worked out,” Griffiths told Zawya in an interview on the sidelines of a press event to launch the 2017 Dubai Airshow.

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“I just think that, as with everything in business generally, one has to keep an open mind as to what the possibilities are for the future. Once those conversations start to mature we will see the shape of what comes out,” he said, adding that the idea was not currently part of the company’s business plan.

“It is not something that we have considered in any great detail, but that doesn’t mean to say that we would close our minds to the possibility of something happening in the future,” he said.

Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the two biggest emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, are already in the process of building up their aviation infrastructures.

Reuters reported in May that Dubai government had secured $3 billion in long-term financing for the expansion of its airports, which include Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International Airport.

It is planned that Al Maktoum International Airport will eventually become Dubai's main airport, handling up to 120 million passengers per year by 2022, the report added.

Abu Dhabi International Airport, Etihad Airways’ main hub, will have the capacity to process 45 million passengers per year when the new $2.94 billion Midfield Terminal opens, almost double the 23 million passengers it attracted in 2015. The terminal was due to open in September this year, but this has been pushed back by two years, according to a Reuters report in March.

© ZAWYA 2017