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2011: The year that was – Milestones in the GCC for Austria and Austrian companies

13. December 2011

After turbulent three years, the buzz is slowly returning to the financial market round the world. 2011 has been a fruitful year for Austrian entrepreneurs as they bag prestigious projects and revel in the limelight. The Austrian Trade Commission recaps some milestones achieved by Austria and Austrian companies in the GCC region.  

Austrian embassy open in Qatar
As a sign of the growing importance of Qatar in the Austrian commercial relation with the Gulf, The Austrian Chamber of Commerce has opened an Austrian embassy in Qatar. The Austrian Federal President , Dr Heinz Fischer, together with a high level Trade Delegation from 11th – 12th December 2011 formally launched the Austrian Embassy.
Says Dr Wolfang Penzias, Asutrian Trade Commissioner to the GCC, “Taking into consideration Qatar’s emerging economy, the opening of an Austrian Embassy here will be a big boost to the Austrian entrepreneurs in Qatar. It is definitely going to make a difference.”

Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre in Al Ain basks in a befitting pearl glow
The Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre in Al Ain has achieved the five pearl rating of the Estidama Pearl Rating System (PRS) in the design phase. This makes it the first government sustainable development to attain the highest sustainability rating. The project also achieves the first in attaining innovation credit, which once completed could influence emirate-wide construction practices.
“By achieving the highest Pearl Rating, the Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre will be the catalyst for all upcoming sustainability-driven projects,” said H.E. Falah Al Ahbabi, general manager, UPC. The Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort (AWPR) is a pilot representation of the UAE’s pledge to wildlife conservation and to compliance with Estidama guidelines, attaining its highest ratings. The Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre (SZDLC) is at the heart of the development project that is designed with the Estidama guidelines at its core. Embedded within the UAE World Desert, the Centre will be offering attractive and high tech exhibits to bring the history of Abu Dhabi and the region to vibrant life. A centrepiece of this will be the preservation methods that have been used for survival in arid land ecosystems over the centuries. The visitors to the centre will be able to understand the practices of the past and gain the knowledge and awareness that is needed for conserving the desert and arid land ecosystems for future generations.

Austrian airlines: 15 years and still counting
It has been 15 years since the inaugural flight of Austrian from Vienna to Dubai was operated with a Boeing 737.The airline considers Dubai as an important destination in its Middle East strategy and plans to offer more services in days to come. Christina Debbah, Vice President, Global sales and distribution said: “We are happy to celebrate the 15th anniversary of our flights between Dubai and Vienna. Dubai is an important destination in our Middle-East strategy.”

Borealis’ projects in 2011 watermarked for success
Borealis, a leading provider of chemical and innovative plastics solutions, announced that the AED 500,000 contribution made to the Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy in November 2010 will be used to support two environmental research projects- particularly water sustainability initiatives, across the UAE. Prospering plastic producer Borealis AG has also said that the construction of a centre for innovation in Abu Dhabi should be completed soon.This Vienna-based company – which also runs factories in Austria and Sweden among other countries also announced recently that the facility in the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be operating by the end of this year.

Emirates Airlines revs up its engines en route Vienna
This year, Emirates Airlines strengthened its operations in Northern Europe by adding more flights to Austria and Germany on the back of new route announcements into Switzerland and Denmark. Four extra flights were to the airline's daily service to Vienna from 27th March, 2011. The additional Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday flights are served by an Airbus A340-500, offering 12 First Class Private Suites, 42 seats in Business Class and 204 seats in Economy.
“By providing these extra flights, we are responding to strong demand for additional capacity on the Vienna and Hamburg routes. The strengthened services will foster new business and tourism to two of our key European destinations and provide even more convenient connections to onward travel through our international hub of Dubai," said Salem Obaidalla, Emirates' Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Europe & Russian Federation.

Boehler Welding Group seals the deal in Oman
Boehler Welding Group has been on an expansion spree. The company’s commitment to forge ahead in the Middle east was evident when it opened its regional sales office in JAFZA. "The Gulf and the rest of the Middle East are on the frontline of development among emerging economies, and Dubai is the gateway to this huge market, says Bohler Welding Group Middle East FZE Managing Director, Anders Andersson, "Our decision to base our regional office in Jafza is a reflection of the confidence we have in this region's ability to overcome the global economic crisis and continue to forge ahead with developmental plans,"
In keeping up with the development plans, last year Sea gulf was appointed as Boehler Welding Group of Austria’s distributor in Qatar and this year the group has forayed into Oman and designated Hi-Tech Services & Supplies LLC, part of Trading SBU of Al Hassan Group, as its distributor in Oman.

Pacific Controls on cloud 9
Pacific Controls announced a joint initiative with the Vienna University of Technology to open a dedicated cloud computing lab in the university campus to carry out research and development on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enabled managed energy services solutions for buildings and infrastructure.
The "Pacific Controls Cloud Computing Research Lab" will enable the Dubai-headquartered world-class developer and provider of global total automation solutions to engage in various strategic scientific developments. This will include R&D in enhanced virtual software services (Gbots), virtual robots for energy efficiency.

ANTO and MODUL Vienna wins this year´s Ulysses Special Jury Prize
The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has awarded this year’s Ulysses Special Jury Prize in the “Innovations in the Tourist Industry” category to the Tourismus Marketing Informationssystem (TourMIS) from the Austrian National Tourist Office (ANTO) and MODUL University Vienna. The information system (, known in the industry as a kind of Wikipedia for tourism statistics, is presently used by more than 15,000 national and international tourism professionals and future specialists in universities and higher education institutions, and is thus also making a valuable contribution to the training of future tourism managers.

Doka Qatar in full form
With over 130 years of experience, Doka Group popularly known as the “Formwork Experts” have been valuable partners for many companies worldwide in their quest to stay ahead of the continuous evolution of the construction Industry.
Since its establishment in 2004, Doka Qatar has been a valuable partner in the quest to keep pace with the phenomenal growth rate and continuous evolution of the construction industry. Experience counts and Doka has become a byword for safety, innovation and capability of formwork technology. Over the past years Doka formworks have made a great contribution towards the country’s remarkable development. Currently the company is supplying formwork for large-scale projects in the construction engineering sector and for infrastructure projects. These include Sidra Medical and Research Centre, Musheireb (previously Dohaland), Barwa Financial District, Lusail Development and more. Doka formworks are utilized at the terminals, elevated roadway and other related structures of New Doha International Airport, as well as supplied to water and sewerage projects of Ashghal (Public Works Authority) and Kharamaa (General Electricity and Water Corporation).