Emirates gets the message

I always wondered whether Emirates Airline chairman Sheikh Ahmed – one of the best chairmen anywhere in the world – reads this magazine. And if so, whether he ever takes its advice.

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By  Ben Dawson Published  October 15, 2006

|~||~||~|I always wondered whether Emirates Airline chairman Sheikh Ahmed – one of the best chairmen anywhere in the world – reads this magazine. And if so, whether he ever takes its advice. Well, I’m glad to say, it appears he does. Last week, in a comment piece headlined “Emirates must be bold”, we urged Sheikh Ahmed to think long and hard over the company’s decision to buy 43 of the Airbus A380 planes. With continued delays, we said there was a danger these planes may still not be ready for some years to come. And so, we suggested last Sunday, Emirates “should immediately snap up a number of the new Boeing 747 planes.” Less than 24 hours later, Sheikh Ahmed signed a deal to take delivery of 10 Boeing 747-8Fs. “Developing this side of our business is elemental to Emirates maintaining a leading position amongst the world’s airlines,” he explained. I couldn’t agree more. FASH THE CASH Just over a month to go before Soccerex, the world’s biggest soccer industry convention, comes to Dubai. And this year, I suspect some serious business will be booming. Amongst the likely superstar guests will be former England striker John Fashanu. Since retiring, Fashanu has been busy building up an impressive football empire, and done several deals with the African Football Association to bring top African players into the European game. Now, I hear, he wants to do the same in the Middle East. He tells me: “I think there is some really great football talent in the Gulf, except that very few people seem to know about it.” “I plan to travel a bit around the region when I come over, and see what there is – and, with a bit of luck, bring a few of these Arab stars into the European game.” I wish him well. MUSIC TO MY EARS More news on the planned appearance of the world’s greatest musician, Tom Jones, in Dubai next year. As I’ve mentioned before, The One founder Thomas Lundgren is believed to have been looking at bringing Jones to Dubai sometime next spring, most probably around March. Well, the plan appears to just get bigger and better. My spies suggest that Jones may in fact not come alone, but headline a mega concert lasting eight hours, and featuring at least four other of the world’s biggest names in music. It is early days yet and even the other four names have to be decided upon but if it happens, remember, you read it here first. MATCH ON As some readers will know, tennis superstars John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg will perform a “final battle” this year in Dubai, at a special exhibition tournament. Well, I can reveal that only a month since officially retiring, another tennis legend, Andre Agassi, is already missing the game so much - he is in talks with advisors over making a special appearance at the Dubai event. Let’s hope he does.||**||

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