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FLYDUBAI CUTS FARES BY UP TO 50%

Dubai: Budget carrier flydubai has slashed its fares across a number of routes, in an apparent bid to stimulate demand after the peak summer travel period.

The airline announced on Wednesday that it is offering up to 50 per cent discount on economy and business class seats for flights from Dubai to more than 80 destinations, including Prague, Maldives, Russia, Georgia, Thailand, India and Ukraine.

The sale has already kicked off and flyers have until midnight of September 26, 2017 to avail themselves of price cuts. The discounted fares are for trips between September 15, 2017 and October 27, 2018.

“From today until 26 September you can get big savings on fares. The earlier you book, the greater the discount,” the carrier said.

Airline promotions are expected around this time of year, particularly between September and mid-November, when demand tends to slow down.

“This is the time of year when UAE residents have gone back from their annual vacation. Flydubai is also in competition with carriers like Air Arabia, so they want to get more market share and stimulate ticket sales during the lean season,” Premjit Bangara, general manager for travel at Sharaf Travel Services,, told.

“Bookings, however, usually pick up around mid-November to December.”

The low-cost airline had earlier reported Dh142.5 million in losses for the first half of 2017, up from Dh89.9 million a year earlier.

However, the carrier maintained that revenues increased by 9.9 per cent year-on-year, while passenger numbers rose by 10.5 per cent to 5.4 million.

“The demand for travel on flydubai remains strong, and the airline has seen its overall market share grow,” the company said in a statement earlier.

VAT IMPLEMENTATION NEEDS TO GO AHEAD COME WHAT MAY

January 1, 2018 has been declared as the starting date for levying the value added tax (VAT) in the GCC. And despite the importance of such a move, recent developments with regard to the Qatar crisis have impacted on VAT’s combined roll-out. While some took practical steps, others are still abstaining from handling this issue.

The sharp fluctuations in oil prices have resulted in financial headwinds in all oil producing and exporting countries, including in the GCC. Public finances, which depended on oil revenues for decades, could not thereby keep up with current or prospective conditions in global oil markets.

Thus, to meet the requirements from these developments, it was necessary to take some measures including financial reforms, now that it is no longer possible to completely depend on oil revenues to fund annual budgets. And even though such revenues make up 90 per cent of budgetary resources for most of these countries.

Interestingly, there are some, which achieved noticeable development in diversifying funding sources such as the UAE.

The application of VAT is indeed an important step. The VAT on sales is considered the single most important pillar of the financial system in most of the economically advanced countries. It also constitutes a significant portion of revenues, and helps strengthen the financial position and boost stability of monetary conditions, which otherwise might be deeply affected by budget deficits and the rising public debt.

As a result, many countries tend to borrow through issuing bonds to cover debts or bridge the deficit.

Given the sharp oil price drop, Gulf budgets have become prone to deficits. That’s why the VAT system is an important step that would contribute to re-organising a number of the financial issues. And help with enacting new legislations that go along with the developmental progress achieved by Gulf economies.

In addition, the VAT system will help set more accurate estimations for GDP.

So what matters here is classifying the goods to be included in the new tax to make the most out of them, and reduce the direct impact on customers from the other. The classification will help exclude some basic goods such as foodstuffs and medicines, however, the rest can taxed by imposing a progressive VAT depending on their importance for consumers and in relation to living standards, whether they are basic or luxury.

European countries have a long history of practical VAT application, related to the development of their economies. They went through numerous experiences that eventually resulted in positive outcomes.

Soon after the recent financial crisis, a number of European countries had to raise the VAT rates so as to reduce the implications, Yet, some of them again cut VAT rates after their conditions turned stable.

Obviously, this reflects the importance of VAT as a financial tool by which resources can be channelled and controlled in financial and economic indices.

It goes without saying that a part of the VAT outcome that cannot be ignored will be to develop public facilities and implement vital projects that would contribute to boosting growth and provide job opportunities. This in fact is an important step for Gulf economies’ future and will help them join the status of advanced economies.

Undeniably, the application of the VAT will face some unexpected difficulties even though the six Gulf states have already agreed to collectively apply the VAT. But Qatar has refused to apply it while Kuwait requested the consent of its National Assembly.

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DUBAI’S GEM: HOW JEBEL ALI FREE ZONE HAS TURNED THE EMIRATE INTO A GLOBAL TRADING POWERHOUSE

Dubai: The Jebel Ali Port has been named “Best Seaport in the Middle East” for 21 consecutive years.

And it is for a very good reason: Jebel Ali offers connectivity to 140 locations, an air-sea corridor, a free zone and first-class service – an efficient system of trade facilitation that’s unrivalled in the region.

That distinction has been recognised by the Asian Freight & Supply Chain Awards for two decades.

For its part, Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) is massive industrial freezone south of Dubai that offers seamless links to the region and rest of the world. It is the hub of many of the world’s top shippers.

Home to 7,300 international companies, Jafza recorded non-oil foreign trade worth a whopping $80.2 billion.

What facilitates this mega operation is the Jebel Ali Port, the premier gateway for over 90 weekly services connecting more than 140 ports worldwide.

And the numbers show it: Jebel Ali Port has an annual capacity of 19.5 million containers.

126 EXHIBITORS FROM 20 COUNTRIES TAKE PART IN MATERIALS HANDLING

Dubai: The Materials Handling Middle East 2017 trade show got off to a busy start, with 126 participating exhibitors from 20 countries, representing over 200 international brands, making their presence felt at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre show. The increased international presence, with six of the top 20 international materials handling brands participating, underlines the growing significance of the Middle East as a fast-growing focal point for materials handling, logistics and warehousing.

UAE INVESTORS COUNCIL MAKES DECISIONS TO SUPPORT EMIRATI COMPANIES INVESTING ABROAD

Abu Dhabi: The UAE International Investors Council has made a range of strategic decisions to support the development of its working procedures, to serve its goals of promoting coordination and supporting Emirati companies that invest abroad.

The Council made its decisions during its 14th meeting, which was chaired by Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy and President of the Council. He said global Emirati investments are witnessing continuous growth and diversity in various world markets, as the value of the country’s total direct foreign investments in 2017 reached around $16 billion. He also noted that these investments have acquired a wide and prominent reputation, due to their key development achievements and continuous growth.

HOW MUCH UAE SALARIES ARE FORECAST TO RISE IN 2018

Dubai: Salaries at some companies in the UAE are still forecast to increase next year despite the current economic climate, according to the latest study.

Global professional services firm Aon reported on Monday that employers in UAE are expected to grant an average wage increase of 4.3 per cent in 2018, the second-highest in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.

The forecast is based on feedback gathered from 600 multi-national and local employers in the region — more than half of whom are based in the UAE. But it doesn’t necessarily mean increases will be granted across the board. Other recruitment specialists had earlier said that pay cuts and redundancies are still on the cards for some employers.

Out of the 323 UAE companies covered in the survey, only 5 per cent (16 firms) indicated they would freeze salaries next year.

Employers in the hi-tech industry are likely to grant the biggest increase at 5 per cent. In the onsumer products sector, wage adjustments are forecast to average 4.6 per cent, while those in life sciences are likely to see a 4.4 per cent raise.

Those in “other manufacturing” and banking and finance sectors will get the lowest adjustments, estimated to be around 4.3 per cent and 3.8 per cent, respectively.

Among the countries surveyed, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are expected to be the most generous next year, as employers there are predicted to adjust salaries by 4.5 per cent.

Oman employees will also likely get an increase of 4.3 per cent. Workers in Bahrain, on the other hand, are expected to get the lowest salary adjustment, projected to be around 4 per cent.

Aon’s research is said to be the largest of its kind in the Gulf region. It also found that actual wage adjustments granted this year were lower than predicted, owing largely to the slow economy and low oil prices. Saudi Arabia gave away the biggest actual increase at 4.4 per cent

Within the UAE, actual salary increase this year stood at 4.3 per cent, lower than the 4.6 per cent forecast.

Employees in the life sciences sector enjoyed the biggest increase in paycheque (5.1 per cent), followed by those in the hi-tech industry (4.6 per cent).

Workers in the construction, engineering, transportation, logistics and shipping services sectors suffered the lowest salary increases at an average of just 2.4 per cent.

For next year, Aon said there is a chance that workers will see an upside in the actual salary increase, as the economic conditions are improving.

The global professional services firm noted that government spending has increased, while oil prices are stabilising. And while it can add to rising inflation, the implementation of 5 per cent value-added tax (VAT) may also boost gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

It is reported early this year that 23 per cent of 800 GCC companies had plans to reduce headcounts this year. Within the UAE, about 15 per cent said they were planning to make some job cuts.

WATCH: ETIHAD GETS CREATIVE WITH SAFETY DEMONSTRATION

Dubai: Etihad has just gotten creative with flight safety demonstration.

The UAE-based carrier has recently released a film that goes beyond the usual, and it takes viewers to a completely different journey.

In the video, dubbed ‘Runway to Runway,’ viewers are shown how to wear the life vest, fasten the seatbelt, put the oxygen mask on, or brace for impact, but the setting is about far more than just a normal flight.

There are catwalk models sitting in front of the mirror and getting their hair done, but have to put some mask on for some reason, while another one in a glitzy gown is having her “seatbelt” fixed.

EMIRATES CANCELS FLIGHTS DUE TO HURRICANE IRMA

Dubai: Emirates has cancelled some flights to the United States as hurricane Irma continued to threaten some parts of the country.

In an advisory posted on its website, the UAE-based airline said that trips to and from Fort Lauderdale and Orlando have been cancelled.

Cancellation is in effect for Fort Lauderdale flights on September 8 to 10 and for Orlando on September 9 to 11.

Affected flyers have been advised to get in touch with their travel agents or respective Emirates call centres for assistance, ticket rebooking and cancellation, as well as to check the status of their flight.

“Due to hurricane Irma, the operations of Emirates flights EK213 from Dubai to Fort Lauderdale and EK214 from Fort Lauderdale to Dubai on 8, 9 and 10 September, and EK219 from Dubai to Orlando and EK220 from Orlando to Dubai on 9, 10 and 11 September have been cancelled,” the advisory reads.

“We are monitoring the situation closely, and aim to give customers as much notice as possible if there are any further changes to our operations.”

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