Emirates Airline is adding property development to its fast expanding aviation empire as it hires thousands of cabin crew, pilots and engineers. The Dubai-based carrier said it plans to develop five residential towers in Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), home to hundreds of its staff.
The airline already has more than 12,600 leased and owned apartments and villas, making it one of the city’s largest landlords.
Emirates will begin construction of the towers in the third quarter of this year, the airline said yesterday. The residences will house approximately 2,000 cabin crew. The carrier plans to recruit some 2,700 staff this year.
Mohammed Al Zarooni, the vice chairman and chief executive of the DSO authority, and Ali Mubarak Al Soori, Emirates’ executive vice president for facilities and projects management, signed the agreement to build the towers yesterday.
A wholly owned entity of the Government of Dubai, DSO operates as a free-zone technology park for semiconductors, microelectronics and other electronics-based companies looking to set up their regional headquarters and research and development divisions in Dubai.
Emirates Airline is benefiting from the emerging status of Dubai as a global aviation hub, with its international airport being widely predicted within the industry to overtake London’s Heathrow airport as the world’s busiest international airport by 2015.
The airline carried 34 million passengers and flew to 122 destinations in 72 countries last year. Measured in revenue passenger kilometres, passenger traffic carried was up 10 per cent from the year before.
The airline’s growing successes have helped to fill housing developments across the city, which is now home to about 16,000 Emirates cabin crew and 3,000 pilots. Communities on the outskirts of the city, such as Dubai Silicon Oasis, have seen rents and prices surge by more than 30 per cent as the airline has snapped up properties to accommodate staff, Samir Munshi, the managing director of Orion Holdings, a property investment company told The National in December.
“Emirates have moved a lot of staff into Dubai Silicon Oasis. Majan is another development that was half empty – now a lot of occupancy is coming from Emirates,” said Mr Munshi at the time.
According to the contract terms, Emirates will build five towers spanning 21,500 square metres. The buildings are in the vicinity of Emirate’s 570 Semmer villas for airline captains. The buildings are 25 storeys high, with 669 three-bedroom apartments, and six four-bedroom apartments. The new project will also feature three floors for parking and three retail units over an area of 11,737 square feet in each of the towers.