3000 Cars Abandoned in Dubai International Airport
by Serena Merriman
Riding high and in style is over for many expats who moved to Dubai to live the good life. As a result of the economic recession that has plagued the most populous of the seven Emirate states, many have begun to flee the country, leaving their cars abandoned outside the Dubai International Airport. Over the past four months, airport police have reported over 3,000 vehicles left in their parking lots, from BMWs to Mercedes. Once symbols of their owners' tax-free wealth, the orphaned vehicles now represent the ruins of a failed utopia.
Five years ago, a building boom fuelled double-digit growth, with thousands of Westerners investing in the skyrocketing real estate market. When the market collapsed, many expatriates were left owning several homes and unable to pay their mortgages. Since the punishment for defaulting on debt is jail (under Sharia, which prevails in Dubai), and the loss of a job results in a revoked visa, many Westerners have decided to cut and run. While some simply left their keys in the ignition, other ‘skips,’ as they have been labeled, offered more in the way of an explanation: maxed-out credit cards were left on passenger seats with “I’m Sorry” notes stuck to windshields. Don’t expect the owners to be coming back anytime soon; Dubai police have issued arrest warrants for the owners.
Locals looking for brand new Beamers at closeout prices can check out the weekly auctions held at one of Dubai’s participating banks.