Dubai World, the state-owned holding company restructuring $26bn in debt, is seeking to separate “good” businesses from underperforming assets as part of its restructuring plan, the head of the city’s airline said.

“What we try to do is trying to separate the bad business from the good business,” Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, said in New Delhi today. “There’s a lot of good business like the port business, free zone, dry dock.”

Dubai World and its Nakheel and Limitless property units used loans to finance real estate projects such as the palm tree-shaped islands off the emirate’s coast, which they struggled to refinance amid the credit crisis. Dubai World said in November it would seek to delay repaying debt until May, sparking a slump in developing-nation stocks and doubling the cost to protect against a default by Dubai.