Arab aviation rallies to side of Yemen
The Arab aviation community has announced their support to colleagues in Yemen following the discovery of explosive devices on two aircraft, day one of the 2nd Doha Aviation Summit heard yesterday (31st October, 2010).
The announcement was made by His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Noaimi, Chairman of the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority on behalf of the Arab Civil Aviation Commission (ACAC) whose Chairman His Excellency Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi is attending the Summit at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Doha.
"As far as our brothers in Yemen are concerned," said Al Noaimi, "although we have great trust in their procedures, we are ready to offer them our help and cooperation in case they need it in facing their war against terrorism."
Events elsewhere in the world – the explosive devices, believed to have originated in Yemen, were safely removed from aircraft in Dubai and East Midlands Airport, England – added to an already-packed agenda at the Summit, organised by naseba, which concludes today (Monday, 1st November). The event brings together aviation leaders from the Middle East and world-wide for two days addressing issues impacting the industry.
The summit is hosted by Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al Thani, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar.
"Yemen will have all the support of the Arab world," said Al Noaimi. "We have the expertise to help them because the threat is to all countries. We have enough expertise and now it is up to our brothers in Yemen to specify what they need."
Al Suwaidi, who in addition to currently chairing ACAC is Director General of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, said that the discovery of an explosive device on the aircraft at Dubai was the result of good intelligence.
"A key element for such things is to have a good exchange of information to stop any attempt at penetrating the system of aviation," he said. "We are now in continuous mode for the exchange of information at the highest level."
Al Noaimi and Al Suwaidi were accompanied by other leading figures from civil aviation authorities in the Arab world, including Mohamed Abdul Kader, Deputy Chairman of Civil Aviation of the Republic of Yemen.
Earlier Al Noaimi had given the keynote speech to 200 delegates from 35 countries. "Allow me to first thank His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al- Thani, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Qatar for providing his esteemed patronage to this summit.
"Qatar, as we are all aware, has taken a lead role in the development of the aviation industry. This is further reinforced with the fact that such a distinguished gathering of delegates such as you have come to Doha for discussions on matters of vital importance to the aviation industry.
"But it's not easy - our industry is facing challenging times ahead. Tough decisions must be made and strong leadership is essential. The Doha Aviation Summit is a collaborative effort between all parties in aviation to find solutions to the challenges we all face, and determine the future for our industry. The aim is to bring to the table a uniform vision and strategy to enable prosperity and growth."
Yesterday's opening session featured a range of senior aviation industry figures addressing critical issues facing the aviation industry.
Dr Brian Pearce, Chief Economist for the International Air Transport Association, said that while the recovery of the airline industry from "the deepest recession since the 1930s" had been faster than expected, it remained fragile in many areas. The industry had also been "an important enabler" for the wider economic recovery.
He warned that the industry was moving into an environment that will be "less positive" in terms of profitability. He pointed to Europe, where many countries were moving into a time of "severe" fiscal austerity. "We see slower economic growth and slower (aviation) traffic."
Jonathan Moor, Director General for Civil Aviation in the UK Department of Transport, offered delegates some "ingredients" for the successful future development of aviation. "We must not let up on the process of liberalisation," he said. "We need to open up markets and we must continue to address issues about airline ownership and market access."
There was an enthusiastic reception for BBC World News presenter Aaron Heslehurst who called aviation "one of the most important industries in the history of humanity." But he warned that the industry often failed to get its message across to governments.
Nicholas Watson, Aviation Director for naseba, said that the first day of the Summit had exceeded expectations.
"From the outset, we had really compelling contributions from some of the most senior figures in the industry. Such was the calibre of the people attending the 2nd Doha Aviation Summit that we were able to incorporate debate on the most up-to-the-minute issues such as security and airfreight.
"This is the second edition of the event and it is already established as a 'must attend' gathering."
The 2nd Doha Aviation Summit continues today (Monday, November 1st) with another packed agenda, including sessions on airport operations and management, the human resources challenge in the Arab world and a special presentation on Air Traffic Management.