x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Skydivers have a new reason to jump for joy

A skydiving club is being built on the north-east fringe of the Dubai Marina, complete with a runway and landing area for parachutists.

A skydiving club is being built on the north-east fringe of the Dubai Marina, complete with a runway and landing area for parachutists. The club is being built on land set aside for Dubai Promenade, the last major waterfront development to be launched by Nakheel on the Dubai mainland. Construction was originally due to start in mid-2008 and the development was intended to house some 10,000 residents.

The skydiving club was in its first stages, according to Mohammed Abdul Rahman, the president of the parachuting division at the Emirates Aviation Association, and did not have the final elements in place such as insurance and long-term site access. However, a runway has been built and workers could be seen yesterday morning painting "Skydive Dubai", which is understood to be the name of the planned club, in large white letters on the tarmac.

Skydivers are already using the area as an informal base, according to a woman who works at the site, and aircraft have been taking off from the new runway to ferry skydivers to jumping altitude. The Dubai Promenade land had previously been used during a parachuting competition in January but the runway was only recently completed. "We have granted the concerned parties short-term access to the Dubai Promenade site," a Nakheel spokeswoman said, declining to elaborate on the future of the development.

Plans for the Dubai Promenade include a series of tall towers on land reclaimed from the Gulf, including a signature structure shaped like a silver doughnut on its side. In recent months, the vacant land has occasionally been used as a parking lot for large events nearby. Nakheel, the Dubai World-owned developer behind the Palm islands and The World archipelago, is undergoing a sweeping restructuring in which many of its projects are being re-evaluated.

Under a proposal presented to creditors of Dubai World last week, Nakheel is to receive about US$9 billion (Dh33.05bn) in new funds from the Dubai Government to help pay off trade creditors, address a large debt load and finish off projects close to completion. Representatives of Nakheel would not comment on where the Dubai Promenade fitted in the company's plans. afitch@thenational.ae