Dubai: Every project that Dubai has started, Dubai will finish.
That is the strong message sent out Friday by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Shaikh Mohammad's comments come as Dubai prepares to open the first phase of Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International Airport on Sunday.
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The airport, once complete, will be the world's largest aerospace cluster and will demonstrate the Dubai government's determination to deliver on its promises.
Over the past 12 months, Dubai also delivered the region's largest shopping mall, the first urban mass rail project and the world's tallest man-made structure, among many other projects.
"Everything we started, we are going to finish. Maybe some projects that we are thinking of or are in the books might [see a] delay of six months, eight months, one year. But the rest is going forward," Shaikh Mohammad said in an interview with CNN that aired yesterday.
"The worst is past and now we are looking for the next growth. We have to be ready for it and take the opportunity and get in before the rest of the world," he said.
Projects worth $75 billion (Dh275.4 billion) in the UAE were reported by HSBC to be on hold or cancelled at one point. They included some that were part of Meydan, Dubailand, as well as the whole of Jumeirah Gardens by Meraas and Nakheel's Waterfront.
Ironically, however, HSBC's own chairman, Stephen Green, told CNN that Dubai is "dealing effectively" with the issues created by the global economic downturn, and has successfully positioned itself to become the fourth global hub of business after the United States, Europe and Asia.
Dubai has, meanwhile, continued to invest in infrastructure. The $33 billion Al Maktoum International at Jebel Ali will begin cargo operations tomorrow. The current airport's anchor airline, Emirates, will move to the new airport at a later stage to accommodate its long-term growth plans.
Emirates continues to increase its capacity. After a record order of 32 Airbus A380s this month, Shaikh Mohammad told CNN the airline will have to place even more orders, probably at next month's Farnborough air show.
"I think they will have to because of the growth. I see the growth in Dubai Airport is very… big," he said.
With the country's infrastructure needs fulfilled, Dubai is now ready to move forward, Shaikh Mohammad said.
"We're already moving forward. The structure is ready — bridges, roads, tunnels, everything. We don't have to build, so we are ready now to move forward with the country," he said.