The rapidly developing aviation industry in Dubai is also creating opportunities for global companies to establish local offices where expatriate and national managers work together to grow businesses.

Mike Creed (pictured) is managing director of Action Aviation - Dubai-based aircraft and helicopter distributor for a variety of manufacturers.

 Mike Creed

Creed has been living in Dubai for about a year and says that the lifestyle is nice; the weather is nothing less than beautiful if you can bear the summer months, when temperatures can soar to 50ºC (122ºF).

"Dubai has a lot of amenities. It's amazing to see how it's developed in 10 years. You drive down the roads and it almost looks like Dallas with all the high-rise buildings.

"It's very much a cosmopolitan city. It has great facilities for business, for sport, for recreation. It has everything."

Creed says that is a bonus for managers who come to the region for the growing business opportunities.

"This is a region where aviation is developing very rapidly. There are still restrictions on private flying, but if you are respectful of these, and bear in mind that this isn't an 'open shop', for the rightcompanies and the rightprofessionals they'll beguaranteed longevity ofbusiness and profitability.

"I am fully aware that I'm a guest in this country, and as such you have to be very respectful of the different culture and traditions. If you have common sense and respect you won't have any problems," he adds.

Creed firmly believes that the region is not an open playground for aviation. The industry is very well regulated, with the UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority regulations based on both the UK CAA and US FAA. "Safety and professionalism are the number one concern", he says.

"The quality of life is also good. There are excellent schools and tax advantages depending on your circumstances. There any many items that are so much cheaper than back home. For instance, fuel in the UK is expensive. I would pay about £75 ($150) to fill a tank at home, here it costs about £15.

"When I'm not working I try and go skiing two or three times a week. Dubai is the only place in the world where you can go snow-skiing in the desert.

"It really is an amazing snow arena, and if you don't feel like skiing you can relax by the pool or by the sun. I really love it here," he says.


Not everything is always plain sailing, and Dubai has its own problems - just like any other city on earth.

"Everyone knows the road network is clogged - the government knows this too and they are doing something about this. They are investing in the infrastructure rather than just sitting back.

"You also need to consider the fact that regulatory issues take a bit longer to get done. You will need to take the time to investigate and allow time for things like driving licences, company certificates, visas etcetera."

That view is backed by US-based Universal Weather. Operations and training standards manager Curt Kurshildgen also offers sound advice for new expatriates.

"You've got to accept the different culture, you shouldn't be 'flashing cash' or being opulent. There aren't always the same freedoms we're used to back at home. You should try and avoid expressing religious views or politics in public. Christianity is allowed, but you have to accept their religious beliefs too."

"There are very stringent traffic regulations too, and another important point to consider is that you need to be respectful to women. The Arabic culture is very different.

"However, there many positives - you'll come away with some good experience of different cultures. You are also likely to be better off financially because of the taxation policies. If you can bear the heat and humidity you willenjoy life. And if nothing else, at least you'll come away with a nice tan.

"The best things to make your life easier out there is to get to know the local infrastructures. Get to know the people that are running the ministries that you are dealing with, get to know the people in your area. Don't just stay in expat communities - it isimportant to build relationships with the nationals.

"But also be aware that in some respects you are at their mercy - particularly with the labour laws, andlandlords.

"If you maintain an easy-going attitude you won't find any problems. Don't gobroadcasting your expatstatus - obviously people are aware of it, but be open and amenable to change."

Source: Flight International