Global aviation industry to descend on Doha

Global aviation industry to descend on Doha
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Published October 20th, 2010 - 11:31 GMT

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The chance for leaders of some of the Gulf's major airlines to defend the region's carriers following the recent international row over alleged unfair competition, will no doubt surface at the Doha Aviation Summit, which is being held from 30 October to 1November, 2010 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Doha.

The summit hosted by Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) is held under the patronage of HE Abdul Aziz Al Noaimi, Chairman, QCAA, organised by Dubai-based naseba and endorsed by HH Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al Thani, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar, will bring together industry heavyweights from around the globe to debate key issues that will shape the future of the industry.

One particular session, a 60 minute Q&A with CEOs including Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways and Adel Ali, CEO of Air Arabia and Monhla Hlahla, CEO of Airports Company South Africa will respond to questions over international regulation and route capacities which could reignite tension between the airlines in more mature markets with those intent on rapid development.

"This will be the first major gathering of aviation industry leaders since the row broke. It has been widely reported that some airlines outside of the Gulf are merely envious of the active government support and tax breaks Gulf carriers enjoy. In any case, it is sure to provoke lively and healthy debate," said Nicholas Watson, Global Sales Director, naseba.

The simmering row erupted recently when some European and US airlines accused Gulf airlines such as Emirates, Etihad Airlines and Qatar Airways of unfairly using the Export Credit Agency to fund the purchase of new aircraft.

However Emirates finances only 20% of aircraft through export credits dismissing subsidy allegations by rival airlines and has also repeatedly denied claims that its fuel bills are subsidised by the Dubai Government, reiterating that it is run on a strictly commercial basis.

Furthermore, Air France has called for a curb on the expansion of Gulf carriers to protect the European industry, fearing they will lose market share as Gulf carriers continue to expand aggressively.

However, besides the current disharmony, the worst of the global recession seems to be over for the aviation industry, although it still faces critical issues as it looks to resume growth, those issues include:

The drive for greater airline efficiency and the quest for growth in the post-recession period."Thinking BIG" on regulatory frameworks – do aviation bilateral agreements still make sense? Managing airlines in a crisis (the role of corruption in government-backed airlines; the need for more open pricing tariffs; and are first class cabins dead?)In a year when a previously-unheard of Icelandic volcano paralysed the airline industry and cost it $3 billion in lost revenues, what are the lessons learned and can a similar event be avoided?

"The aviation industry has been the powerhouse behind globalisation and despite the occasional spat, aviation leaders know that only a harmonised industry will lead to sustained recovery and prosperity for all industry stakeholders," added Watson.

Other interesting topics for discussion include: the human resources challenge in the Arab world; sustainability and uncertainty over aviation emissions regulation; and 'towards world class airports.

Industry experts addressing delegates at the event include: Dr Brian Pearce, Chief Economist, International Air Transport Association (IATA); Dr Charles E. Schlumberger, Principal Air Transport Specialist, World Bank; Monhla Hlahla. Chief Executive, Airports Company, South Africa; and Jonathan Moor, Director General for Civil Aviation, UK Department of Transport.

In addition, the Doha Aviation Summit will feature the Leaders in Aviation Awards which will recognise and reward individuals and organisations for their contribution to the industry. 

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