Spotlight on air safety and coordination as MENA air traffic rises 60 percent

Published August 31st, 2016 - 08:00 GMT
Under discussion is the need for workers to be trained in procedures like verifying the identity of passengers and travel documents to meet the threats of terrorism. (AFP/File)
Under discussion is the need for workers to be trained in procedures like verifying the identity of passengers and travel documents to meet the threats of terrorism. (AFP/File)

There has been a 60 percent increase of flights in the Middle East.

This was noted at the Global Ministerial Aviation Summit, which focused on safety in air travel, on its second day Tuesday. 
Abdulelah O. Felemban, director general of the Aviation Investigation Bureau (AIB), chalked out initiatives that had been taken to further enhance security in air travel. 

“To achieve this, there’s a need for joint cooperation in investigation of air accidents among the countries participating in this summit,” he said.

The session, themed security and safety, was titled 'Regional cooperation in air accident investigation. 'Stephen Kramer, director of air navigation bureau at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), said: “The Middle East region requires a redoubling of efforts in security and safety.”

He stressed the need for coordination among different countries and addressing political and economic differences to achieve the highest standards in the security and safety of passengers.

“There’s a need to meet the challenges posed by congestion in air transport density, which is expected to become crucial during the next 15 years,” he said. According to him, a group of 15 countries had been trying to make a pivotal change in the aviation industry and enhance the degree of safety management. “The group also aims to raise the capacity, quality and efficiency of performance criterions currently being adopted by the aviation industry,” he said.

Kyle Barter, Asia-Pacific coordinator in Aviation Security Program, noted that there was a program focusing on improving the relationship between civil aviation and military.

This program involves Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait and Sudan. He wanted workers pursuing air transport training courses to bolster safety and increase performance efficiency in the application of procedures related to passenger security standardsDavid Tadj, Middle East coordinator, Cooperative Aviation Security Program, said the program was in its third phase across the regionand all member-states were committed to raise security and safety standards.

He underscored the importance of guidance materials to support capacity building, adding that the program “is characterized by the presence of various initiatives to establish a safety plan commensurate with the national income of each state.”

Antoine Zanotti, European Civil Aviation's security project coordinator, said the European Union aimed to raise capacity and enhance aviation security efficiency. “There are more than 100 experts working to provide assistance and training on safety and security standards for all states ,” he said.

He explained that the role of regional organizations in aviation security was to identify priorities and activate awareness of member-states on security and safety standards, and meet the challenges of the current phase that include the security situation and terrorist groups.

Jahangir Khan, UN task force director of the fight against terrorism, stressed the need for a new strategy to address security and safety, and fight against terrorism, and to develop mechanisms to protect the lives of the travelers, especially as passenger traffic was steadily growing.

He also wanted workers to be trained in procedures like verifying the identity of passengers and travel documents to meet the threats of terrorism.

“The aviation industry is facing challenges, especially with the presence of 3.5 million passengers in 27,000 aircraft and 1,400 flights listed in 2015,” he said.

Melvin Cintron, ICAO regional director for North America, Central America and the Caribbean, mentioned the “difficulty of dealing with a component province of the island group.” The air navigation sector will be facing challenges in the next 15 years, he added.  Joe Sultana, EU director of network management, talked about the process of transmission and exchange of information between the member-states to complete the communicative process in the aeronautics sector, and laid stress on the importance of renewing communication materials with the same high quality.

“We need to agree on services and activate the role of corporate governance in the preparation of plans and reports,” he added.

By Rodolfo C. Estimo Jr.


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