Dubai: Dubai Airport Freezone will undergo an expansion of leasable space of up to 90 per cent of current space, starting in 2012, that could bring in at least 1,000 new companies.
Construction has already started on one of the eight buildings and a hotel, which will add a built-up area of 305,000 square metres. The entire project will involve an investment of Dh1.3 billion, according to Mohammad Ahmad Al Zarouni, director-general of the free-zone (DAFZ).
About 1,500 companies are operating in DAFZ with more than 12,000 employees.
These foreign investors are engaged in various types of value adding activities from manufacturing to assembly to packaging and services.
"These activities have a great cluster impact on the economy of Dubai. It is definitely boosting the growth of other industries such as transportation, import/exports, construction, consumer and services," Al Zarouni said.
The freezone contributes 2.2 per cent to the gross domestic product of the UAE.
In last year's first quarter the freezone experienced growth of 48 per cent in revenues and a 49 per cent increase in net profits, beating expectations.
"I was not expecting to have a growth in the first quarter. But we can see that results have been good and the situation in Dubai is not as affected as many say," he said.
DAFZ has been attractive to international companies due to the incentives it offers, such as lack of taxation, and benefits of low costs, which is only added to during a time of falling rents.
Meanwhile, recognising its position in the global freezones after six months of research, DAFZ was named the best Free Zone in the Middle East, and the second best in the world by the Foreign Direct Investment magazine of the Financial Times.
Competing with more than 200 other freezones worldwide, Dubai Airport Freezone has positioned itself strongly after Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone in first place and Mexico's Free Zone San Luis Potosi in third place.
"This achievement will further encourage us to do much more for our international clients in terms of the quality of services and facilities we render,"said Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, and Chairman of DAFZ.
"Our commitment towards our customers shall continue to provide the best business environment for the investors."
Al Zarouni said, "We strongly believe in the need to benchmark our services and facilities with the accepted international standard to make the necessary positive changes in favour of our partners."