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ETIHAD AIRWAYS SWINGS TO $1.87B LOSSES

Dubai: Etihad Airways reported on Thursday $1.87 billion in net losses for 2016, a significant plunge from the $103 million in profits recorded in 2015. The drop was supported by $1.9 billion the airline paid in impairments.

The figures mark the first time that Etihad has reported losses since 2011. In a statement, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier attributed the losses to one-off impairment charges and fuel hedging losses. Etihad also reported $8.36 billion in total revenues in 2016, a 7 per cent decline over the $9 billion in revenues recorded in 2015. “A culmination of factors contributed to the disappointing results for 2016. The board and executive team have been working since last year to address the issues and challenges through a comprehensive strategic review aimed at driving improved performance across the group, which includes a full review of our airline equity partnership strategy,” said Mohammed Al Mazrouei, chairman of the board of Etihad Aviation Group.

EMIRATES IS UAE’S ‘HEALTHIEST’ BRAND: NEW INDEX

Dubai: When people spend their money, whether they’re buying a new pair of shoes, a purse or ordering a cup of coffee or booking an air ticket, they always have a favourite brand in mind. And if there’s only one name that resonates most strongly with expatriates and locals in the country, it’s the one that has its roots in the UAE. The latest rankings released on Wednesday by market research firm YouGov named Emirates as the “healthiest brand” in the UAE, beating global tech powerhouses like Samsung and Apple. According to YouGov, the home-grown airline and lifestyle favourite earned the highest BrandIndex scores in the UAE, ahead of WhatsApp, which came second and Google, which came third. French retail brand Carrefour, the ubiquitous hypermarket chain, emerged fourth on the list, followed by Facebook, YouTube, Apple, Apple iPhone, Samsung and Almarai. It’s not surprising to see that global brands in the tech industry also resonate with consumers in the UAE, but certain businesses, especially home-grown ones that have long established their names in their respective sectors, have clearly made a strong following. “The UAE is among the savviest markets in the world when it comes to mobile and online technology, so it is no surprise to see Google, Facebook, Apple, Samsung and related brands reach the top 10 list for Brand Health,” said Scott Booth, YouGov’s head of data products in Middle East and North Africa. “On the other hand, we can see that Emirates, Carrefour and Almarai, long dominant in their respective sectors, have achieved levels of differentiation, ubiquity and consumer perception that set them apart from their direct competition.” Among consumers worldwide, however, Google topped the list, followed by YouTube, Facebook, Samsung and WhatsApp in the top five. YouGov has also named the companies with the “most improved brand health” in the UAE over the past year. Apple iPhone witnessed the biggest improvement among consumers, followed by the region’s first cultural, entertainment, family and shopping destination Global Village. A real mix of brands make up the rest of the top ten, including noted progress for photo-sharing site Instagram.

THIS DUBAI SCHOOL IS IN WORLD’S TOP 10 FOR HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT

Dubai: It’s confirmed: Dubai has one of the best schools in the world that offers the best training and education for residents who are looking to further their career in hotels and other companies in the hospitality industry. The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management (EAHM) has just been named one of the top ten world’s best schools for hospitality by Educations.com, a global education research company. The Dubai-based school which is situated just opposite Burj Al Arab and part of the luxury hotel chain operator Jumeirah Group, is ranked alongside prestigious schools, such as Cornell University in New York (School of Hotel Administration) and Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland. The academy in Dubai is the only academic institution in the Middle East that made it to the top ten rankings and the only school recognized outside United States and Europe. “This prestigious school gets to exploit the thriving hospitality industry of Dubai,” Educations.com said. The school offers part time MBA in International Hospitality Management to professionals who are looking to further their career. EAHM has been in the education business for 15 years now and many of its graduates have gone onto work around the world for leading companies such as Ernst & Young, Fairmont, Louvre Hotel Group, Warner Bros World, HSBC bank and Jumeirah Group. According to Educations.com, the search for the world’s best hospitality schools is a “fiercely contested area,” given the numerous academic institutions that offer world-class hotel management and hospitality programmes. Judy Hou, managing director for the school, said the award is a well-deserved recognition for the efforts of the entire team at the academy, as well as their “talented students and alumni.” “The academy encourages students to meet their full potential and help them develop the skills that underpin successful careers,” Hou said. “In addition to pursuing challenging academic programs, EAHM ensures students are exposed to extraordinary co-curricular activities that give them fresh insights into current best practices, whilst also developing their soft skills and cultural understanding to become true global citizens.”

7 CHEAPEST PLACES TO RENT IN DUBAI

Dubai: House-hunting is no walk in the park, especially if the budget is tight and you do it in the middle of the summer. Not only will you have to endure hopping from one place to another, with outside temperatures soaring close to 50 degrees Celsius, but you’ll have to make sure you’re not exceeding your budget – and this requires a lot of negotiation and price-comparison checks. To make it a little bit easier for you, we’ve reviewed the latest rental data and drawn up a list of top seven most affordable communities for tenants. Using data supplied by property consultants Asteco, we’ve ranked the neighbourhoods in Dubai based on average rents of one-bedroom apartments. So, whether you’ve gotten tired of your old apartment or recently joined the expat community in Dubai, it may be worth looking at this list of seven most budget-friendly areas to rent a one-bedroom apartment. The numbers are as of June 2017, and percentages of increase/decrease are for the period between June 2016 and June 2017.

72-HOUR SALE IN DUBAI: 19 MORE BRANDS JOINING

Dubai: It’s that time of the week again and if you’re itching to get your hands on some cool bargains, head on down to the nearest shopping centre to catch the 72-hour sale. Organisers of the Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) have just unveiled an additional list of brands – at least 19 of them – who are participating in the exclusive promotion that promises shoppers further savings on already discounted items starting, Monday until Wednesday. And this time, budget-savvy shoppers may be able to find great deals from retailers of casual clothing, including denims, tees and polo shirts, as well as beachwear and swimwear – just in time for the summer. Mothers or would-be mums would also be happy to know that a number of high-end labels selling children’s apparel are likewise offering additional discounts during the three-day exclusive sale. It may also be a perfect time to shop for toys for the little ones, as well as parenting essentials. “The 72-hour sale is here, giving you the chance to save big on a great range of children’s wear and toys. From Monday, 24 July, to Wednesday, 26 July, visit participating retailers to take advantage of further reductions on essentials for the kids,” a statement reads.

NEW RULES FOR FILIPINO EXPATS’ BALIKBAYAN BOXES TO TAKE EFFECT

Dubai: A new set of regulations for cargoes sent by Filipinos back to their home country will take effect next month, and some senders could expect delays or incur additional duties and taxes, a source has warned. Starting August 1, 2017, all senders of parcels containing personal effects and household items, commonly called “balikbayan boxes,” will be subjected to stricter requirements, as stipulated under Philippine Bureau of Customs memorandum order 04-2017. The new rules, which seek to promote transparency and prevent smuggling on imported items, will impact Filipinos living in the UAE and the rest of the world. With the new provisions, which have recently stirred protest from well-meaning organisations, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are mandated to declare absolutely everything they are shipping back to their home country, from used shirts, clothes, down to the last pair of socks – if they don’t want to pay taxes. The sender is required to fill out a form with an itemized description of goods, including quantities and actual/ estimated prices. OFWs who are sending brand-new goodies, such as shoes, bags or clothes, are required to also provide the necessary receipts as proof of purchase. Shipments that fail to comply with the requirements might be subjected to physical examination and extra charges. Expat cargoes that don’t contain goods in commercial quantities are normally exempt from duties and taxes, and they don’t usually undergo such meticulous screening processes. The new policy is the latest in a series of guidelines that authorities have been working on to tighten their watch on importation of goods. Late last year, a set of guidelines was announced that effectively hiked the duty-and tax-free ceiling for balikbayan boxes to P150,000 (approximately Dh10,800). According to an official of Door to Door Consolidators Association of the Philippines (DDCAP), the new rules could lead to delays in the delivery of OFWs’ packages. “If the documents are incomplete, for example, there is no receipt, duties and taxes might apply,” said lawyer James Ian dela Vega, legal counsel of DDCAP, in an interview. The Bureau of Customs order also stipulates that the package should be adressed to a family member or relative of the sender. “If the box is addressed to a girlfriend, friend or boyfriend, the balikbayan box tax-free privilege will not apply,” said dela Vega in Tagalog. An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Migrant and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI) criticised on Saturday the new Customs rules. Bishop Rupert Santos, chairman of the CBCP-ECMI, said requiring expatriate Filipinos to produce receipts for unused items would be cumbersome.

DUBAI LANDLORDS OFFER ‘FREE’ RENT, MULTI CHEQUES

Dubai: Landlords in Dubai aren’t just open to accepting multiple cheques and reducing lease rates, they are also offering rent-free periods just to attract tenants.

Despite claims that the property sector is bottoming out or showing signs of recovery, overall rents across the emirate are still on decline. A slowdown in hiring and a sustained rise in the number of new apartments and villas continue to impact demand, prompting landlords to sweeten the deal. With fewer jobs, there are fewer people with money to pay for rent. Compounding the decline in demand is the increase in supply of new properties. Just this year alone, some 30,000 units are expected to be turned over to investors. So far, about a tenth of the number has already been delivered. As a result, according to Propertyfinder Group’s UAE Real Estate Trends 2017 report, Dubai residents have gained more negotiating power when it comes to dealing with landlords. “New tenants and their brokers have been able to negotiate concessions that were previously dismissed or largely unheard of in the Dubai market, such as rent-free periods.”

DEWA AWARDS DH46M CONTRACT FOR PHASE 1 OF AL-SHERAA BUILDING

DUBAI: Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, DEWA, has awarded a Dh46 million contract for the first phase of the construction of its new headquarters, called Al-Sheraa, to Dutco Balfour Beatty, who offered the lowest bid and competed with 10 leading international companies. The contract for Phase 1 includes shoring, dewatering, excavation, piling, fencing and associated works. Al-Sheraa is the tallest, largest, and smartest government net Zero Energy Building, ZEB, in the world. It will have over 2 million square feet, covering over 200,000 square feet of land in the heart of the Cultural Village in Al Jadaf. The building will have 16,500 square metres of photovoltaic solar panels on the roof to produce over 3,500 kilowatts (kW). The building will also include an additional 2,000 square metres of building-integrated photovoltaic panels. The total renewable energy generated from the building is over 5,800 megawatt hours (MWh) per year. The building will be completed and inaugurated in the last quarter of 2019.

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