Friday, October 12, 2007


Al-Maktoum and Lula met yesterday at Planalto Palace

Arabs should feel at home in Brazil, says Lula

Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva made this statement to Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman of Emirates airline, whom he met yesterday. The company runs a direct flight between Dubai and São Paulo. The meeting also included ministers Marta Suplicy (Tourism), Walfrido dos Mares Guia (Institutional Relations) and Arab Brazilian Chamber president Antonio Sarkis Jr.

Roosevelt Pinheiro/Abr

Al-Maktoum, Lula and Marta believe in greater trade and tourism
Alexandre Rocha*

São Paulo – The chairman and executive director of Emirates Group, which manages Emirates airline, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, met yesterday (10), in Brazilian capital Brasília, with president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Al-Maktoum is in Brazil due to the launch of a new direct route between Dubai and São Paulo, operated by his company. The daily flights started on October 1st. "Any Arab businessman or tourist who comes to Brazil will feel at home," said Lula, according to those participating in the meeting.

The president of Brazil pointed out characteristics of the Arab presence in Brazil, including the cuisine, which is spread throughout the country, and 25 de Março (25th of March) street, in São Paulo, where there are several tradesmen of Arab origin. It is estimated that in Brazil there are 12 million Arabs and their descendents.

Al-Maktoum, in turn, spoke about the good opinion the Arabs have of Brazil, about their appreciation for football, and added that he can see that everything he has heard about Brazilian hospitality is true. He added that the flight is going to help expand knowledge about Brazil among the Arabs.

Lula thanked Al-Maktoum for having chosen Brazil as a new destination for Emirates and commended the company for its daring, as the enterprise purchased two new Boeing 777-LR aircraft to operate the route between Dubai and São Paulo. The capacity of the aircraft is for 266 passengers in three classes and 18 tonnes of cargo.

Al-Maktoum stated that the occupation of flights has been very good and added that the aircraft in which he arrived in São Paulo, on Tuesday (09), had brought 120 Japanese passengers. One of the Emirates bets is supplying the demand of Asian passengers, as the company serves a series of destinations on the continent.


The meeting, which lasted 45 minutes, included the minister of Tourism, Marta Suplicy, the minister of Institutional Relations, Walfrido dos Mares Guia, the president of the Brazilian Tourism Institute (Embratur), Jeanine Pires, the presidential advisor for Foreign Relations, Marco Aurélio Garcia and Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce president Antonio Sarkis Jr.

Before the meeting with Lula, Al-Maktoum met Marta and Jeanine. The Ministry of Tourism intends to promote Brazil in Dubai next year. Marta stated that she believes in success of the new flight and that the company may test new destinations in Brazil in future. She believes that Brazil is living an excellent moment of closer ties with the Arabs.

They also discussed the possibility of Brazil opening a consulate in Dubai, to simplify the issuing of visas, as it is currently necessary to travel to the Brazilian embassy, in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the Emirates.

Sheikh Al-Maktoum

Sheikh Al-Maktoum is also the president of the Department of Civil Aviation in Dubai, which controls the activities of Dubai International Airport, Dubai Cargo Village, Dubai Duty Free, Dubai International Hotel and Dubai Aviation Club. He also presides Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) and a series of other organisations.

Born in 1958, Al-Maktoum is the oldest son of Emir Saeed Bin Maktoum Al-Maktoum, who died that year, and is brother to Emir Rachid Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, who ruled Dubai until his death, in 1990. He is the uncle of the current ruler of Dubai, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, who, despite being the son of his eldest brother, was born in 1949.

He went to school in Dubai and then in London, England, and graduated from the University of Denver, Colorado (United States). Al-Maktoum started operating in the aviation area in 1985, when he was nominated chairman of the Department of Civil Aviation of Dubai.