It’s Friday. Which means that we can all relax a little, and soak up a spot of gossip. Create our own water-cooler moment.
One of the other advantages of it being Friday is that the UAE isn’t in the office today, making it that much easier to gossip about them. (Although they have Sunday to themselves to chat about the rest of us.)
So, what’s going on in the world’s self-styled hub? Quite a bit of bickering, apparently, between a few companies that all have the same chairman. One source close to the action says: “It’s ridiculous. We are fighting between ourselves, when actually we are all on the same side. We should be co-operating.”
And the source of the tension?
Same as it ever was – it’s about moving to the new airport, again. The 250,000-tonne capacity Al Maktoum (DWC) – which will expand to 12m tonnes of capacity eventually – is still failing to attract sufficient numbers of cargo carriers, and someone is felt not to be to pulling their weight on the shifting-freight-out-of-DXB project.
Now, The Loadstar doesn’t want to make the family tension worse, so won’t name any names. (You’ll have to work it out.) One company involved in both DWC and DXB is dragging its heels, apparently, and failing to provide sufficient incentives for airlines to move. Another company, similarly involved in both DWC and DXB, is also failing to get airlines to move, but far more enthusiastically.
But it’s starting to get a little problematic, says our man in the know, because unless the cargo starts to move out of DXB, the airport is going to have to invest in more cargo infrastructure – which it really doesn’t want to do. All it really wants is Emirates’ passengers – oh, and apparently some other airlines fly there too.
But they have had one result. Saudi Airlines Cargo recently became one of the first big names to sign up to DWC, following its move out of Sharjah. Unfortunately, though, says one source, it missed a trick by announcing its move publicly, and only then enquiring what discounts might be available if it were thinking of moving there. Horse, door, bolted, as they say in London.
But nobody need concern themselves too much with Saudi. It seems to be doing OK. And so close to all that lovely cheap fuel. (Although it must be noted in the interests of fairness, that Saudi publicly denies getting any significant discounts on fuel. But the rumour is $1 a barrel.)
Of course, The Loadstar, being a proper publication rather than an outfit devoted to scurrilous gossip, contacted all the parties involved, and they all clammed up immediately. Apparently there is no tension, all is well, everyone is collaborating. The UAE is one happy family.
The knowledgeable and friendly JD Pauw, of Dnata, said: “I can’t hide the fact that the transfer of DXB freighter activities to DWC did not happen as quick as I had personally hoped for.
“Freighter operators in DXB are still somewhat reluctant to leave their comfort zone, the DXB agent community is still very centred around DXB airport, though most if not all of these agents also have (most of the time larger) facilities in JAFZ, adjacent to DWC.
“Knowing that DWC and JAFZ are part of the same “customs bonded zone” and connected by a dedicated bridge over Emirates road, I personally think that these fears are grossly overstated.”
And, for those that remember to ask first, there is still some bargaining to be done at DWC. And to apologise for gossiping behind their backs, The Loadstar will give them a little plug: go on, move to DWC. And help a family end its feud.