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Tim Clark predicts quick Dubai recovery

Dubai is “better placed” than the UK for economic recovery, according to the president of the airline Emirates.

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Dubai is “better placed” than the UK for economic recovery, according to the president of the airline Emirates.

Tim Clark told the BBC that Dubai’s economy “would restart within 18 months” and be as “energetic as ever”.

Concerns about the size of Dubai’s debt burden have led to the city’s stock market falling heavily in recent weeks.

But Mr Clark predicted that the UK’s long-term debt would mean it emerged more slowly from its continuing recession than Dubai.

Emirates, which is based in Dubai, is the largest airline in the Middle East.

Although it saw a fall in profits of 72% for the 2008/09 fiscal year, Mr Clark was keen to downplay the impact of Dubai’s economic problems on the airline.

“The effects on Emirates have been marginal, we continue to fill our planes – we are continuing business as normal,” he told BBC Radio 4.

Mr Clark added that the airline was looking to buy more planes on top of the 160 which are already on order, and would seek funding from the debt market to finance that.

Building blocks

Dubai has been shaken in recent weeks by financial concerns which began after the emirate’s investment vehicle, Dubai World, said it wanted to delay payments to its creditors.

Acknowledging the impact on the area, Mr Clark believed Dubai would return to strong growth in the medium-term as “the building blocks were in place” for a swift recovery.

“It is true to say that there are some office and residential developments which have not been occupied at the pace the developers hoped, but the pace these buildings came to market was probably a bit too high.

“Now we’ll get a correction which will allow things to get back to some degree of normality, and underpinning that is the growth of the economy which will take up the slack.

“Dubai will cut loose in the next six to 18 months, and restart and be as energetic and vibrant as it always has been.”

Dubai is one of the seven self-governing emirates or states that make up the United Arab Emirates.

Following six years of rapid growth, the Dubai economy has slumped since the second half of 2008.

Tim Clark said he remained bullish about its future.

“In my view, Dubai is in a better position to pick itself up from this globally-driven downturn than some much larger countries,” he said.

“The UK has some long-term issues with regards to the debt put in place. I don’t see the speed with which Dubai will get itself through this matched by the UK. It’ll be faster here.”

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