Dubailand on track to meet deadline, says executive

Construction on all 24 projects is scheduled to start by the end of this year.

A senior executive of Dubailand has hit back at speculation that the mega entertainment development may struggle to meet its projected opening deadline of 2010.

In an interview with Commercial Outdoor Design at the Arabian Travel Market trade show today, Mohammed Alhabbai, senior vice president for Dubailand, the company behind the development, said the firm was ‘very confident' of meeting the phase one opening deadline.

"We are very confident. As of today, we are working very closely with the authorities and our own consultants to ensure that we deliver Universal Studio by 2010," he said.

Asked if there are enough contractors available to complete the multiple large-scale entertainment projects under construction, he replied yes.

Obtaining materials could prove to be the only major challenge, he commented. "I think most of those projects if they don't secure the materials, they might be delayed but it won't be a major delay," he said.

Construction on all 24 projects is scheduled to start by the end of this year, with most of the projects already on ground, he added.

"Over 24 mega projects are already on site. They are progressing very well. Six projects are up and running. From now up to 2010, most of our other projects will be open and fully operated," he said.

Approximately 80% of the contracts to work on the project have already been awarded with the remainder to be awarded this year, he added.

Alhabbai's comments come after speculation from within the industry that the supply of talent and materials may be hard pushed to meet demand for so many large-scale entertainment projects simultaneously.

Dubailand has previously stated that it expects phase one of the project to ready for opening by December 2010, with Universal Studios slated to open on December 10, 2010.

Launched in October 2003, Dubailand is expected to become the world's largest leisure and entertainment destination. Developed at a cost of US$63.9 billion, the development is expected to create 250,000 jobs and to attract 15 million visitors by 2015.

Its projects include theme parks Universal Studios, Six Flags, Super Heroes and Freej, as well as City of Arabia, the water park Aqua Dunya, Dubai Golf City, and Dubai Sports City.

A number of projects are already operational including Dubai's first permanent outdoor show, Jumana-Secret of the Desert, part of the Al Sahra Desert Resort.

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