More than 100 Aviation experts from across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have gathered for two days of intense discussions at in Jordan, to find new ways to improve the efficiency, safety and sustainability of air transport. The meeting comes as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed traffic figures showing a sharp fall in capacity growth from the Middle East carriers, reflecting the uncertain economic outlook.
“In the light of the many global economic challenges that we face, it is more important than ever for the industry to explore all possible ways of improving efficiency and customer service. IATA Aviation Days are well known across the world for their unique ability to bring together the industry to achieve an agenda for change. Our Middle East and North Africa Aviation Day has attracted some of the region’s most influential air transport leaders to debate issues around airspace and airport planning and design, steps to traffic growth sustainability, and opportunities to enhance efficiency and boost profitability,” said Dr. Majdi Sabri, IATA’s Regional Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Hussein Dabbas, the President and CEO of Royal Jordanian commended IATA’s role in addressing member needs and priorities.
“IATA has always done a great job in bringing together key aviation stakeholders to discuss the industry needs and priorities and shed some light on possible solutions and improvements to our industry, especially during these very challenging times. IATA has launched many initiatives to help the industry to raise the safety bar, improve operational efficiency, and reduce cost…we in Royal Jordanian have supported these initiatives and benefitted from them tremendously and we need to keep on finding ways and means to generate more revenue and reduce cost,” he said.
“It’s a tough year of crises and shocks for airlines in the Middle East and North Africa Region. September figures show that Middle Eastern airlines are rapidly adjusting capacity growth in response to economic uncertainty in the region and globally. International passenger traffic recorded at 9.1% above 2010 levels. Capacity growth was held to 8.5%. It was the only region where demand growth outstripped growth in supply,” explained Dr. Sabri.
“Tightening global economic conditions are resulting in declining profits. The $900 million profit returned by the Middle East carriers in 2010 is expected to fall to $800 million this year. For 2012 we see a further reduction to $700 million. That equates to an Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT) margin of just 2.9%. That this is second only to Latin American carriers who are expected to return a 3.1% EBIT margin indicates just how difficult the global situation is for airlines, ” said Sabri.
IATA Aviation Days
The agenda for the two-day event encompassed issues such as tackling airspace restrictions, improving airport planning, enhancing the IOSA and ISAGO safety audits, crisis management techniques, and working in partnership to drive cost efficiencies and fuel savings. IATA experts and airline speakers from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan were joined by guests from ICAO, AACO, CANSO, Dubai Airports Company, Airport International Group (AIG) and Jordan Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission (CARC).
“Jordan is the perfect place to hold such event. It is IATA’s home in MENA Region—the location of the IATA regional office which recently expanded its scope to serve IATA’s members and various aviation stakeholders in the region. But even more importantly, Jordan is a country with a great aviation tradition which has adopted a liberal aviation policy at an early stage and supported IATA activities and initiatives at the highest level,” said Sabri.