Published on : Tuesday, November 29, 2016
IATAThe International Air Transport Association (IATA) highlighted four priorities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) which must be addressed for aviation to deliver maximum economic and social benefits.
Sufficient and affordable infrastructure capacity (including air traffic management), aligned with user needs Curbing the spate of unprecedented increases in taxes and charges over the last year Aligning consumer protection regulations with global standards
Enhancing security efforts Passenger demand in MENA is set to expand by 4.8% each year on average over the next 20 years, to become a market of 400 million passengers in 2035.
If that demand is met, the number of jobs supported by aviation in the region will grow from 2.4 million to 3.9 million over the same period. And aviation’s contribution to regional GDP will increase from $157.2 billion to $359.5 billion.
“Aviation is the business of freedom. Its success generates prosperity. A safe, secure, efficient and sustainable air transport industry contributes to the welfare of nations. Strengthening aviation, in partnership with governments, pays huge social and economic dividends. Airlines in MENA face very different business challenges.
But whether building or protecting competitiveness, cost-efficient infrastructure, global standards, reasonable costs and secure operations are critical,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, during his opening remarks at the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO) 49th Annual General Meeting in Casablanca, Morocco.
De Juniac urged the region to address four key areas:
“Infrastructure in MENA reflects the foresight of Governments in the region to capture aviation’s economic and social benefits. However to keep this competitive advantage, continuous consultation is needed so that capital expenditure aligns with industry growth, required service levels and acceptable costs,” said de Juniac.
De Juniac also sounded a note of caution on infrastructure privatization and urged governments to effectively balance public and private interests. “The desire to harness commercial discipline in managing airports is understandable. But, despite many airport privatizations around the world we have not seen any outcomes that have truly met expectations. It’s important to learn from experiences elsewhere, especially ensuring that any privatization is driven by real user consultation throughout the process,” said de Juniac.
De Juniac also called for cooperation to modernize air traffic management (ATM) in the region. “Studies show that the average ATM delay in the Gulf is 29 minutes with the potential to double by 2025. Without an increase in the overall efficiency of the ATM systems in the region through improved airspace design, MENA’s world-class hubs will be compromised with gridlock. We appreciate the many programs that are in progress – including the GCC Air Navigation Committee, the Middle East ATM Enhancement Program and others. But we must drive these efforts even harder to achieve a real breakthrough,” said de Juniac.