The UAE on Tuesday called for more investments in aircraft, airports and new aviation facilities to help cater the growing number of passengers in the region.
The call was made by Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri at the first meeting of the Directors General of Civil Aviation in the Middle East hosted by the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), in cooperation with theInternational Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The minister pointed out that the current stage required a shift in focus to keep pace with the current changes and emerging challenges with demand for air transport is growing rapidly.
The ICAO estimates that the number of passengers will grow at a yearly rate of 4.6 per cent until 2030, which means that the number of passengers, currently 2.3 billion, could double to 5 billion, and it will definitely be higher by 2050.
“We need more investments in aircrafts, airports and new aviation facilities in order to cater to the hundreds of millions of additional passengers. This means that several hundred thousand of air aviation staff members need to be trained on managing and operating complex systems and technologies yet to be invented.
“This also requires close cooperation with other countries and other stakeholders in the industry, including passengers, to maintain an integrated global air transport system and facilitate its growth in order to meet the unprecedented growth in demand for air transport.”
The three-day meeting is attended by many directors general and officials of civil aviation authorities in the region.
Al Mansouri stressed that a united vision was essential for the effective implementation of the aviation safety and security system worldwide, and that inefficiency in any part of the system would threaten the whole global network.
“Therefore, countries are collectively responsible for the implementation and maintenance of an efficient safety and security system. Regional cooperation and coordination is necessary to ensure proper safety and security mechanisms are in place to enhance regional dialogue and sharing information in order to protect and develop aviation interests in the region,” he added.
The minister further emphasised the necessity to adopt open sky policy in the region saying that some countries are slow when it comes to adopting open sky policies despite all efforts made by the ICAO in encouraging all contracted countries to adopt the free policy, and that still some countries are committed to hold onto protective restrictions.
Raymond Benjamin, the Secretary General of ICAO, said in his speech the global air transport system is arguably as safe as it has ever been, and that ICAO has completed the development of a global safety information exchange mechanism and system.
He said that at the last ICOA assembly meeting, member states adopted a resolution which made ICAO the first United Nations agency to lead a sector in the establishment of a globally harmonised agreement for addressing its CO2 emissions.
“The Resolution includes a global goal of 2 per cent annual fuel efficiency improvement up the year 2050,” Benjamin added. Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director General, GCAA said: “The meeting discussed a number of topics and issues related to the development of the civil aviation sector. Points of view varied, but all aimed at achieving this goal in the light of the many changes in the region, which call for intensive efforts to reach an advanced level of bilateral and regional cooperation in all fields of interest to all stakeholders in line with the future outlook of the sector.”