Image by michallon via FlickrGulf News' remarkable cover story today is that French rail company Alstom is coming under pressure from a range of advocacy groups lobbying Saudi authorities to withdraw from their award of the Makkah to Madinah railway project to the company. Those groups, including the PLO and the PA, are angered that Alstom is building a light rail network in occupied Jerusalem.
The page one lead story for some reason completely fails to mention that Alstom holds the contract for Dubai's Al Sufouh tramline. The contract, awarded by the RTA to the ABS consortium, is worth over $500 million, with Alstom claiming some $280 million of that value in the partnership with felow consortium members Besix and Serco (who, respectively, put the BS into ABS). In fact, it's one of a number of significant contracts that Alstom has won in Dubai and the Middle East region as a whole - Alstom is a major player in power generation, too.
The Dubai contract for the Citadis railway system is actually significant as it will trial a new air-conditioning system on platforms for the first time. Citadis has been installed in over 28 cities around the world, according to the company.
Gulf News merely mentions that the company is 'eyeing' business in Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. And yet the Alstom contract award, made in April 2008, is the first result you get by googling 'Alstom transport Dubai'.
How strange, is it not, that Gulf News' journalists missed that fact when researching such an important story?
(By the way, Alstom itself makes no secret of its work in Israel - in presentations such as this one, the company cites its work in Jerusalem as a case study. Like many other corporate companies around the world, Alstom works globally including projects in the Arab World and Israel. We do all know that hundreds, if not thousands, of corporates do this, don't we?)