Stories That Have Intrigued Malcolm Taylor This Week #BusinessBreakfast

1. The return of the multiple-cheque rent payment

Landlords in Dubai are becoming more comfortable with multiple rent cheques, after years on insisting on 1, 2 or sometimes 4 signed bank cheques.

So, are they becoming more rational and reasonable or is it a reflection on the state of the housing market, and more supply than demand?

Property company Allsopp & Allsopp say that fewer of their clients are still paying rent with one cheque – down about 10% over the last year – which they see as the sign of a maturing market.

Many will interpret that data as sign of a weak residential property market in the UAE, as we move with baby steps towards monthly direct debit payments for our rents, easing cash flow for other projects.

It would also free up money to invest in other Dubai attractions.

2. Saudi Arabia and the island of Bahrain are to be joined by a rail link, and a second road link

The two Gulf countries were joined by the King Fahd Causeway in 1986, generating a tourism boom on the island from the mainland. Now a second link is on the way.

The forthcoming King Hamad Causeway is expected to cost $4bn to $5bn and will run parallel to the existing road-bridge. The project will rely on private sector as well as government financing.

The big new change however will be the addition of a railway link, to potentially complete the GCC-wide railway system.

Advisers will be appointed early next year, and construction early in 2019.

3. Life at Emirates

Emirates’ wings clipped in China

Following a couple of air-traffic control issue over China recently, Emirates has been barred from expanding its operations in the country for six months.

As the airline is looking for new routes to combat the fall-off elsewhere, compounded by the delivery of brand spanking new A380’s, the airline will find the ban more onerous than the $4,720 fine imposed.

Emirates’ inflight goggles!

The Dubai carrier is looking for ways to utilize augmented reality lenses for inflight staff.

The airline’s Chief Digital & Innovation Officer Christoph Mueller says the glasses may be given to cabin crew to augment the visual profile of the passenger with information such as name, where from, food preferences, travel habits etc.

If successful the scheme could be rolled out to passengers transitting unfamiliar airports, or browsing food menus.

New wingtips for the A380

Airbus is rolling out a 3-metre high “split” winglet to improve fuel efficiency on the massive A380 super-carriers.

The winglet is the pointy up, or down, fin at the end of the wings that look a bit like a mini-tailplane.

What’s different about these wingtips is the design, because veering from normal practice they are split with a vent in the middle, in turn improving stability and fuel consumption.

Rival Boeing, which is struggling with sales numbers of its own ‘big’ plane the 747, is set to release a report in the next week, either scrapping or downgrading its 20-year forecast for ‘Very Large Aircraft’.

4. You think Dubai property prices are high!

If you find your landlord overly demanding and your rent-cheques a pain in the wallet, spare a thought for the residents of Hong Kong.

One of the hottest and most expensive global property house prices, a garage….yes, a garage….has been sold for $664,000!

What do you get for that figure (Dh2.8m)?

Not much to be honest. 17.5 square metres of, well, parking space at a luxury condo block near the waterfront on Hong Kong Island.

The sale comes just a few weeks after another Hong Kong money-man paid $3bn for a prime commercial lot in the Central Business and shopping district.

5. Fantasy meets fiction…on the moon!

Chinese scientists will attempt to grow potatoes on the moon in a forthcoming lunar mission.

The potatoes will be sealed in a “mini-ecosystem” on board the Chang’e-4 spacecraft due to set off next year.

They will share their space in the capsule with silkworm larvae to see if either can survive on the moon as an indicator as to whether a human colony could survive long-term on the moon.

Imagine the fragile ecosystem breaking on impact, and the potatoes thriving and taking over the planet? Let’s hope the man in the moon’s got a microwave, a spoon and an unlimited supply of butter.

The scenario would be scarier for future generations should the silkworm thrive, grow to 3-metres long and begin to defend the planet as their own colony.

6. Green red buses

Entrepreneur Arthur Kay wants London’s iconic red buses to run on coffee-grounds.

He runs ‘Biobean’, a new company that is gathering waste from coffee chains and converting it to liquid fuel.

They’re hoping to unveil a coffee dregs-run bus in the next few weeks.

The biochemical method extracts oil, which can be turned into bio-mass pellets and can be burnt as fuel in wood burners, or as fuel for transport.


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