By Gordon Platt
Emirates, the Dubai-based international airline, will place orders for more planes at the Farnborough International Airshow in the UK, according to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai’s ruler. The airline, which is owned by Dubai’s government, shocked competitors with its announcement at the Berlin Air Show in June that it has ordered another 32 Airbus A380s. That deal is worth $11.5 billion at list prices, making it the largest civil aircraft order in history.
Spreading its wings: Emirates spends big at UK airshow
The revelation is symptomatic of the fact that, while Dubai may have a debt problem, it is not afraid to spend big bucks to secure its position as a world aviation hub. Emirates’ main challenge now is persuading airports around the world to allocate it more landing rights for its planes. It is lobbying Berlin for additional traffic rights to expand its network, but Lufthansa is doing all it can to block the move. Emirates had previously ordered 58 of the A380s, and it took delivery of its 10th superjumbo at the Hamburg, Germany–based Airbus plant on June 7.
Meanwhile, the World Gold Council says Saudi Arabia’s central bank holds more than twice the amount of gold than previously estimated. The industry group that tracks gold bullion holdings by nations around the world says the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency holds 323 tons of gold, up from 143 tons reported in March. A recent accounting adjustment that took into account purchases made in 2008, when gold prices were much lower, could explain some of the increase. Saudi Arabia moved up to number 16 from 24 in terms of official gold holdings. The kingdom is the top Arab holder of gold, followed by Lebanon, with 287 tons.
With the help of the first-ever US Export-Import Bank loan to a private company in Saudi Arabia, Jeddah-based Mahmood Saeed Collective is buying $34 million of aluminum can–making equipment from Stolle Machinery, based in Centennial, Colorado. The Saudi company will use the equipment to make 800 million cans annually to hold soft drinks, fruit juices and vitamin water. Stolle Machinery says it will be able to grow its business and sustain 230 jobs as a result of the sale.