Last Updated: Tue Dec 07, 2010 14:41 pm (KSA) 11:41 am (GMT)

Dubai to cancel many property projects in 2011: report

Emirates airline cargo flight receives a water salute after landing at the World Central Maktoum Intl airport
Emirates airline cargo flight receives a water salute after landing at the World Central Maktoum Intl airport

Dubai will cancel next year several projects that look unlikely to ever be finished, the head of the emirate's real estate watchdog was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

"You will see a lot of cancellations (in 2011) for projects that have no benefit for Dubai or for the investor," Marwan bin Ghalaita, chief executive of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), told Arabian Business.

Ghalaita said RERA had cancelled 115 projects that existed only as architects' drawings since the financial downturn, but "less than ten" projects upon which construction had started.

Ghalaita could not be immediately reached for comment.

He also said that $544.7 million (2 billion dirhams) out of a total of 7 billion dirhams had been spent from Dubai's escrow or trust accounts.

Dubai's property sector has been hit hard by the downturn, with billions of dollars worth of projects put on hold or cancelled, while property prices slumped as much as 60 percent.

World's largest airport's project is slated

 At the moment, we are reviewing the opening date and it looks as if it'll be later in the year 
Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports

Dubai may also delay the start of passenger operations at its new al-Maktoum international airport by a few months, an official said on Tuesday.

The airport -- billed as the world's largest when it becomes fully operational with expected passenger capacity of up to 160 million people a year -- was slated to open in March 2011.

"At the moment, we are reviewing the opening date and it looks as if it'll be later in the year," Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports, told reporters on the sidelines of an aviation conference.

"We are going to review the passenger terminal capacity and state of construction in a couple of months and then we'll be looking at a date."

Maktoum airport is part of the Dubai World Central transport hub which the Gulf Arab emirate is developing to underpin efforts to become a key Mideast logistics centre.

The airport opened for cargo operations earlier this year.

Griffiths said a planned expansion at Dubai International Airport would increase capacity, allowing the smaller airport to handle up to 90 million passengers by 2018.

"So ... it takes the pressure off us having to complete al-Maktoum in the timeframe we were looking for," he said.

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