Adel Al Taheri is the Acting General Manager of Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone (ADAFZ). He joined ADAFZ in March 2007 taking on the responsibility of being a Sales Executive at the Company. In November 2016, Mr. Al Taheri assumed charge as the acting General Manager. Prior to joining ADAFZ, he gained valuable experience working with Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA) that has significantly added to his knowledge from holding a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.
Q. Could you update our readers on where ADAFZ stands presently in terms of development, facilities and registrations, etc?
A. ADAFZ started its operations towards the end of 2012 and has succeeded in attracting 220 companies to the Free Zone. The Company’s first project was the Logistics Park that comprises of 100 warehouses. Today the Park is home to many renowned companies such as FedEx, DHL, TNT, and others. In 2013, our second project was ready for operations, a Business Center where we provide our customers with furnished facilities equipped to facilitate start-ups to set-up and commence their business very quickly. Following the Business Center came our first Grade-A commercial building in the year 2015. In addition to these office buildings, ADAFZ offers hangars and “Musataha” which is the long-term leasing of land plots to investors to be able to build their own facility. Other than that, ADAFZ has a number of projects in motion including the Cargo Village development, Al Ghazal Golf Club enhancement project, Business Park Phase 2 and many other infrastructure-related expansions to satisfy the Company’s present and potential customers.
Q. What were the major developments which happened over the past one year and what developments are planned up to 2020?
A. ADAFZ is in a growth trajectory and through our focus on the business requirements, we were able to plan for multiple new projects. These projects include two new commercial buildings, each with a net leasable area of 6000 m2 and a Logistics Park (warehouses) at Al Ain Airport, all expected to be completed in 2020.
Q. What can investors look forward to when they invest in ADAFZ?
A. ADAFZ is spread across three of Abu Dhabi’s main airports, Abu Dhabi International Airport, Al Bateen Executive Airport, and Al Ain International Airport. Operating at these three geographical locations with a single Free Zone entity is a unique offering to our customers by being within close proximity of the airports. Additionally, ADAFZ is able to provide its customers with different types of licenses which include services, trading, and light manufacturing.
Q. One key issue confronting free zone investors is they cannot transact business with the oil & gas sector which is still a very significant sector in Abu Dhabi. Is ADAFZ taking any initiatives in this respect and what is the present status?
A. The oil and gas industry is of strategic importance to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and there are certain rules that have been put in place for doing business with this industry. ADAFZ does business within the Oil & Gas Industry but does not enter into direct tenders.
Q. What distinguishes ADAFZ from other free zones in Abu Dhabi? How do these differences benefit prospective investors?
A. All the free zones in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi complement one another where the business expertise of each is different, providing the much-needed support to the customers in their individual field of business. Adding to that, ADAFZ is the only airport based free zone that can license all types of aviation related business and provide the necessary support required from the regulating authority of such an activity. This, of course, is in addition to licensing other types of business such as trading, services and light manufacturing.
Q. What is your leadership’s vision for ADAFZ? Where do they/ you see ADAFZ in the next few decades?
A. ADAFZ intends to create a niche for the free zone by promoting the concept of the customer comes first and focusing the developments around the customer needs. The Free Zone also has the unique advantage of having a landmass of over 40km2 that allows for a planned development that caters to the changes in the business environment.
Q. Would you like to tell our readers something about yourself and your journey so far?
A. The past 11 years were quite challenging where we began at a time when there were no free zones in Abu Dhabi. With the sanction of the visionary leaders of the country, we have been able to reach the point we are at now. Our journey does not stop here and with our robust base, one that has been created with hard work, a successful launch of our next set of initiatives is ensured.