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IATA calls for global standards in Gulf aviation

By Staff Reports on April 8, 2014

The International Air Transport Association called for regional cooperation and global standards to support aviation in the Gulf area.

“A strong vision for aviation’s future supported by cooperation and global standards has laid the foundation for a very successful air transport sector. That foundation becomes stronger the more we work together as partners. I am absolutely confident that the Gulf region will play an even more crucial role in commercial aviation’s second century,” Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said in a keynote address to the Global Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi.

The fast-growing Gulf area is at the center of Middle East aviation. Driven by the growth of airlines in the Gulf, the Middle East region’s share of global traffic increased from 4 percent to 9 percent in just over a decade.

“Aviation in the Gulf is a great success story and air traffic gridlock should not become its Achilles’ heel. Airspace is finite. So capacity can only grow with efficiency. Each country has invested in impressive technology. But effective management needs regional and international teamwork. The players in the region urgently need to buy in to a vision for seamless airspace management in the region and then work together in a team effort to make it happen,” Tyler said. “Airspace congestion is a real and rising problem.”

IATA identified opportunities for progress in two areas. First, between 40 and 60 percent of airspace in the Gulf is reserved for military use. 

“We are trying to squeeze the fast-growing civil aviation component into a fraction of the airspace. One solution is to develop partnerships and trust with the military to open more flexible use zones,” Tyler said.

Second, there needs to be more seamless use of airspace, he said.

IATA urged the region to continue to base its growth on global standards.

“Global standards provide a common language for industry partners to work together. I would attribute a large part of the success of aviation in the Gulf to the importance that the stakeholders in the region – namely, governments and industry – have placed on them. Stay the course and resist the urge to fragment global standards with local variations,” Tyler said.

IATA further encouraged the Gulf aviation industry to adopt key industry initiatives such as E-freight.