Mohammed bin Rashid tours Dubai International Airport

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE’s Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, toured the Dubai International Airport recently.

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed, accompanied by Crown Prince of Dubai H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chief Executive of Emirates Group His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, assured himself of the quality of world-class services and facilities as well as comfort and good treatment provided by the airport authorities to inbound and outbound travelers using one of the world’s busiest airports.

Sheikh Mohamed began his tour with the Departures Hall at Concourse 3 where he stopped at Emirate’s check-in counters, baggage screening facilities and passport counters. He interacted with passport officers, urging them to show handsome treatment and warm welcome to travelers.

At the end of the tour, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed expressed his appreciation for the Vice President’s close follow-up of the traffic and passenger movement at the airport, saying “Sheikh Mohammed’s regular visits and tours of the airport represent a stimulus for all personnel and staff to provide best-in-class services for everyone and come up with innovative ideas that turn travel memories about Dubai more vivid and indelible.” 

Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director of Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, who was present during the tour, remarked that more than 24 million passengers passed through the Dubai airports between January 1 and June 30 this year. Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, Director- General of the Department of Protocol and Hospitality in Dubai, and others accompanied H.H. Mohammed during the tour.

Enhancing passenger experience

It is with pleasure that I contribute my first monthly column to Via Dubai. Airports Council International (ACI) and Dubai Civil Aviation Authority share the common vision of ensuring the industry’s sustainable growth. One of ACI’s prominent areas of focus is the safety and security of the traveling public, a fundamental pillar of this vision...

Early research with Microsoft HoloLens shows potential of mixed reality

A new world of mixed reality is emerging and SITA Lab, the research arm of air transport IT provider SITA, is exploring its potential for airlines and airports. Today it released early results of research carried out with Helsinki Airport using Microsoft HoloLens to analyze and manage airport operations in a mixed reality environment. HoloLens is the world’s first self-contained holographic computer, enabling users to engage with digital content and interact with holograms in the world around them. It runs Windows 10, and enables the blending of the physical and digital worlds in ways that were previously impossible. SITA worked with Helsinki Airport to use HoloLens to reproduce the airport operational control center (AOCC) in this mixed reality environment. Microsoft HoloLens demoFor this project SITA Lab used a feed from SITA’s Day of Operations technology, which is used by Helsinki Airport, and presented a new way to visualize and interact with the airport’s operational data including aircraft movement, passenger movement and retail analytics. Wearing the HoloLens, the operators had a set of screens meshed into a 3D view of the airport allowing them to correlate events from the data dashboards with an immersive real-time model of the airport. This new way of looking at the world can provide new insights into how the airport is functioning. HoloLens also opens the possibility of being able to access the AOCC environment from any location, on or offsite, allowing experts to provide input to situations remotely. Jim Peters, SITA CTO and head of SITA Lab, said: “Mixed reality, which combines augmented and virtual reality, is more than a new interface, it is a new way of looking at the world and allows things to be done in a new way. It enables digital and physical data to exist together. Our early research shows that there are potential uses for airlines and airports – for operations, maintenance and training. We need to learn how to interact in this new environment. In the same way that we moved from computers to smartphones and voice recognition, now we can go beyond the screen.” Greg Jones, MD, Worldwide Hospitality & Travel, Microsoft Corporation, said: “HoloLens is now being used across various enterprises from healthcare to engineering. SITA’s work is an example of how to extend HoloLens capabilities to manage the complexity of data and decision-making in an airport environment. It shows how this new technology can be harnessed for the air transport industry and add value in areas from training to complex operational management.” The SITA Lab project interfaced into multiple data sources at Helsinki Airport to create the unique view of the ever-changing operations throughout the day. This included passenger real-time location and historic density data; aircraft position data; gate information; flight status information; security wait times and retail dwell times, segmented by passenger. Eero Knuutila, Head of Service Development, Helsinki Airport, said: “This innovative work with SITA Lab has been hugely valuable to the team at Helsinki Airport. It has opened our eyes to the possibility of using mixed reality to improve our operations. It is exciting to be the first to work with SITA on this emerging innovative technology.” SITA Lab’s early research results show that unlike virtual reality, the mixed reality experience tends not to make people feel disorientated or nauseous. The HoloLens device itself has proven easy to learn and has a good battery life and doesn’t suffer from over-heating issues. Peters, SITA, added: “Mixed Reality hits a sweet spot of having an experience that is fully immersive for the user, but also keeps that person in the real world. The user can interact with both and avoids the disorientation or discomfort of fully immersive virtual reality. There are benefits to having multiple people using the headset and simultaneously interacting with the same virtual display. This could be really useful for scenario planning exercises.” While the technology shows potential, SITA Lab points out it is early days and before enterprise use at airports issues of weight, size and durability will need to be addressed. Users must also learn how to interact in this new environment to maximize its benefits. 

Philippine Airlines relaunches business class service to Dubai

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has re-launched its business class service to Dubai. The move is brought about by the increased demand for premium leisure and corporate travel market among locals and expatriates in the region. Features and benefits include 20.6-inch-wide seat which converts into full-flat bed, access to airport business class lounges, 64-kilo baggage allowance (32kg x 2 pcs), seven kilo hand carry allowance, inflight entertainment, free on board wifi (MyPAL Player, myPAL Mobile and myPAL wifi enabled) and a business travel kit. PAL will fly its 368-seater, A330 aircraft with 18 seats for business class with a direct aisle access through a 1-2-1 seat layout. Flights leave Dubai at 5:25 am and arrive in Manila at 6:25pm. Genaro ‘Bong’ C. Velasquez, PAL senior assistant vice president and regional manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), said: “The UAE is home to more than 200 nationalities and more and more residents are looking at either vacationing or doing business travels in the Philippines. PAL’s re-launch of business class service is in response to the growing international holiday makers and corporate travellers in the Gulf region.” Velasquez said Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman will also have business class flights in the next three months.
The flag carrier also reported that it is seeing a 50 per cent increase in Dubai-Manila carriage in the second quarter of the year compared to the same period last year. The increase in the passenger load is attributed to PAL’s more aggressive promotion of the airline services as the preferred carrier of choice for expatriates as well as the Philippines as a holiday destination. International visitors from the Middle East have seen a consistent upward trajectory, growing by 9.6 per cent in 2015 at 83,546 over 2014. Tourist arrivals from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the Philippines’ two largest markets in the region were at 50,884 and 16,881, respectively, according to latest data from the Philippine Department of Tourism. Velasquez added: “Industry estimates show that outbound travel from the Middle East is growing 9 per cent year-on year, and is slated to reach $165.3 billion by 2025, and Philippines can have a fair share in that pie.” 

Next-generation Open Flight Deck launched

GE has launched a cross-functional project with industrial and academic partners to develop technologies to deliver the ‘Open Flight Deck’. The partnership includes GE, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Coventry University and the University of Southampton. Aircraft are in service for decades, yet there is a huge barrier to adopting new technologies on the flight deck due to the high cost of change and certification. An Open Flight Deck architecture will define the standards and interfaces to allow functional ‘apps’ to be developed, which are then easier and quicker to deploy. “This project extends into the flight deck, where flexibility and lower cost of change is a real challenge for our customers,” said Alan Caslavka, president of Avionics for GE Aviation. “Open Flight Deck will deliver order-of-magnitude reductions in the cost of change, future proofing platforms by enabling regular upgrades of flight deck applications.
This technology will deliver significant benefits to future aircraft manufacturers, airlines and pilots.” The open platform or ‘Open Flight Deck’ allows the manufacturer to partner with a range of suppliers to develop applications or ‘apps’, which ensure that a pilot can navigate and communicate in a range of future scenarios, with the potential to upgrade as new mission systems or capabilities become possible. 

Airbus presents enhanced A380 Plus aircraft

Airbus has unveiled details of an enhanced version of its A380 superjumbo, the A380plus, that will include the addition of winglets as well as its recently showcased “cabin enablers” that can create space for up to 80 additional seats on the A380. The large winglets and other wing refinements that allow for up to 4% fuel burn savings. Added to an optimised A380 maintenance programme and the enhanced cabin features first shown at Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in April, the overall benefit is a 13% cost per seat reduction versus today’s A380. John Leahy, Airbus COO Customers, explained: “The A380plus is an efficient way to offer even better economics and improved operational performance at the same time.” John adds: “It is a new step for our iconic aircraft to best serve worldwide fast-growing traffic and the evolving needs of the A380 customers. The A380 is well-proven as the solution to increasing congestion at large airports, and in offering a unique, passenger-preferred experience. ” The new winglets measure approximately 4,7 metres in height (an uplet of 3.5m, and a downlet of 1,2m). It is designed to improve aerodynamics and reduce drag. The optimised cabin layout based on the ‘cabin enablers’ presented at Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), allows up to 80 additional seats with no compromise on comfort: redesigned stairs, a combined crew-rest compartment, sidewall stowage removal, a new 9-abreast seat configuration in premium economy and 11-abreast in economy. The A380plus will have an increased maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 578 tonnes providing the flexibility of carrying up to 80 more passengers over today’s range (8,200nm), or flying 300nm further. The A380plus features longer maintenance check intervals, a reduced six-year check downtime, and systems improvements, which will reduce maintenance costs and increase aircraft availability. The A380 is the world’s largest, most spacious airliner that offers passengers the smoothest, quietest and most comfortable ride. With two full widebody decks, offering widest seats, wide aisles and more floor space, the A380 has the unique capability to generate revenue, stimulate traffic and attract the flying public, who can now specifically select the A380 when booking a flight via the iflyA380.com web site. Over 170 million passengers have already enjoyed the experience of flying on board an A380 today. 

Dubai to start trials for flying taxi by fourth quarter

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has signed an agreement with the German Volocopter Company, a specialist in the manufacturing of autonomous aerial vehicles, to launch the first vehicle capable of carrying two passengers. The RTA is working with the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) to develop the legislative and operational guidelines, define specifications and standards applicable to operators in the emirate such that these legislations will be ready before the date set for the commercial and official operation of the autonomous air vehicles, Khaleej Times quoted Mattar Al Tayer, RTA director-general and chairman of the board of executive directors, as saying. “It is noteworthy that the operational and legislative structures will be the first of their kind worldwide. In coordination with its strategic partners, the RTA will specify the air routes of journeys, take-off and landing points of these taxis as well as the logistics needed to ensure safe and smooth mobility of passengers. The RTA will forge additional partnerships with other manufacturers of autonomous air vehicles after ensuring their fulfilment of specifications and standards of air safety approved in Dubai,” he said. “The test run of the first AAT capable of carrying two passengers is in implementation of the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into the smartest city worldwide. It also comes as part of RTA’s efforts to provide autonomous transportation by conducting the required technological tests of those vehicles under the climatic conditions of Dubai». “The move also echoes Dubai’s Smart Autonomous Mobility Strategy that seeks to transform a quarter of the total mobility journeys in Dubai into autonomous transport by 2030,” he added. According to Al Tayer, the aerial taxi has autopilot or autonomous flying capability thus enabling the movement of people without human intervention or a need for flight licence holder. “During the trial period, all aspects relating to the operation as well as security and safety of the autonomous aerial taxi will be verified and checked. The official operation hinges on the readiness of companies and the availability of legislations necessary for operating autonomous aerial vehicles,” Al Tayer underlined. The flying taxi, measuring about two metres in height and seven-metres in width, is electric-powered, run by nine independent quick-change and plug-in battery systems. It can cruise at a speed of 50kmph with the maximum airspeed set at 100kmph. The maximum flight time is approximately 30 minutes; while battery charging will take 40 minutes. It also has 18 rotors to ensure safe cruising and landing of the taxi in case of any rotor failure and it is fitted with a full aircraft emergency parachute. It also boasts of luxurious interiors and leather seating for two persons. 

Dubai set to welcome record high passenger traffic this summer

Dubai is expecting a record high in passenger traffic this summer. Passenger traffic this year is expected to surpass last year’s numbers when Dubai Airports welcomed more than 22.4 million passengers from July to August. Jamal Al Hai, Deputy CEO, Dubai Airports, told Via Dubai: “We are expecting a record high in passenger numbers this summer. And the passengers who use Dubai Airports will get an unmatchable experience thanks to the use of latest technology and new initiatives at Dubai Airports, with which passport control procedures can be completed within a few seconds only, waiting time is less than five minutes for 84 per cent of them and a wide range of exciting entertainment options, world-class restaurants, shopping and many other facilities to make their airport experience worth remembering. ” Dubai International is the world’s number one airport for international passengers and received 83.6 million passengers in 2016, recording a 7.2 per cent growth over the previous year. Passenger traffic in July last year was 14 per cent higher compared to previous year and Dubai Airports welcomed over 22.4 million people from July to September. Less than five minutes wait time for majority passengers Passenger wait times at Dubai International (DXB) dropped by as much as ten per cent during the first quarter of 2017 thanks to the implementation of new technologies at the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic. More than 84 per cent of transfer passengers were processed within 5 minutes, 68 per cent of arrival passengers were processed within 15 minutes, and 87 per cent of departing passengers were processed within ten minutes, during the first quarter. The first technology driving down transaction times and queues at immigration check points is Smart Gates. Smart Gates, and specifically a new service that enables the use of Emirates ID cards to pass through automated immigration gates at DXB, has pushed down transaction times to an average of 10 to 15 seconds per passenger.
Since its introduction last year over 1.3 million UAE users have taken advantage of the service. Launched last year by GDRFA, Emirates Identity Authority and Dubai Airports, the system can quickly, accurately and efficiently confirm the identity, travel plans and eligibility of UAE residents to enter and depart the country. Completely free of charge and requiring no pre-registration, the service is available on some 120 Smart Gates across DXB and makes passing through immigration fast and convenient for all UAE residents. The second technology behind shorter wait times is a sophisticated motion sensor system that allows the airport to track queues in real time. The system consists of a series of 530 sensors that have been installed at crucial passenger processing areas in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 at DXB. The sensors track the movement of people, collecting and computing valuable data like passenger wait times and queue lengths, and based on those factors, calculating the prevailing level of service. The data is conveyed via a simple mobile application in use by more than 5,000 operational staff across Dubai Airports, airlines, control authorities working at the airport. The mobile application alerts all teams in real time and allows Dubai Airports operational staff to quickly identify bottlenecks and facilitate the deployment of resources to address them. Terminal 2 implementation is slated to take place during 2017. Both technologies support Dubai Airports’ DXB Plus programme designed to improve service while increasing capacity to 118 million passengers at DXB by 2018. UAE Wallet App Passengers departing from Dubai International Airport can now use their smart phones instead of passports at the smart gates and pass through electronic gates within 9 to 12 seconds with the launch of a new UAE Wallet. The project was launched by Lt General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, deputy chairman of police and public security in Dubai and Major-General Mohammad Ahmad Al Marri, Director-General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA Dubai), cooperation with Emirates Airline at the Dubai International Airport recently. The UAE Wallet in line with the UAE vision 2021 and the directions of the wise leadership to provide easy and fast government services for all customers. Using the UAE Wallet passengers will be able to complete the departure procedures within 9 to 15 seconds by only scanning their barcode. Live entertainment, world class restaurants, competitions To help travellers make the most of their holidays, Dubai Airports and Emirates Leisure Retail launched a joint initiative Early Birds Have More Fun which offers heavy discounts at a range of world class restaurants, as well as live entertainment and competitions for all the family. Passengers can make use of the Early Birds offers by downloading them from www.earlybirdshavemorefun.com. Over the peak summer travel period, the airport will also feature live performances as part of Dubai Airports’ ongoing musicDXB initiative. 

Airbus forecasts demand for 35,000 aircraft valued at US$5.3 trillion in the next 20 years

Over this period, increasing numbers of first time flyers, rising disposable income spent on air travel, expanding tourism, industry liberalisation, new routes and evolving airline business models are driving a need for 34,170 passenger and 730 freighter aircraft worth a combined total of US$5.3 trillion. Over 70 percent of new units are single aisle with 60 percent for growth and 40 percent for replacement of less fuel efficient aircraft.

A doubling in the commercial fleet over the next 20 years sees a need for 530,000 new pilots and 550,000 new maintenance engineers, and provides Airbus’ global services business a catalyst to grow. Airbus has expanded its global network of training locations from five to 16 in the space of three years Air traffic growth is highest in emerging markets such as China, India, the rest of Asia and Latin America and almost double the 3.2 percent per year growth forecast in mature markets such as North America and Western Europe. Emerging markets currently home to 6.4 billion of the world’s 7.4 billion population will account for nearly 50 percent of the world’s private consumption by 2036.

“Air travel is remarkably resilient to external shocks and doubles every 15 years,” said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer – Customers, Airbus Commercial Aircraft. “Asia Pacific continues to be an engine for growth, with domestic China to become the world’s largest market.

Disposable incomes are growing and in emerging economies the number of people taking a flight will nearly triple between now and 2036.”

Over the next 20 years Asia Pacific is set to take 41 percent of new deliveries, followed by Europe with 20 percent and North America at 16 percent. Middle class numbers will almost double to nearly five billion as wealth creation makes aviation even more accessible particularly in emerging economies where spending on air travel services is set to double. In the twin aisle segment, such as the A330 Family, A350 XWB Family and the A380, Airbus forecasts a requirement for some 10,100 aircraft valued at US$2.9 trillion.

In the single aisle segment, such at the A320neo Family, Airbus forecasts a requirement for some 24,810 aircraft valued at US$2.4 trillion. Airlines adding capacity by upsizing to the largest single aisle, the A321, will find even more business opportunities with the A321neo thanks to its range up to 4,000nm and unbeatable fuel efficiency. In 2016, the A321 represented over 40 percent of single aisle deliveries and over 60 percent of single aisle orders. 

ACI releases the 2017 Airport Economics Report, confirming the financial health of the airport industry

It is with pleasure that I contribute my first monthly column to Via Dubai. Airports Council International (ACI) and Dubai Civil Aviation Authority share the common vision of ensuring the industry’s sustainable growth. One of ACI’s prominent areas of focus is the safety and security of the traveling public, a fundamental pillar of this vision...

Airports to switch to virtual control towers

A pioneering new digital air traffic control system will enhance safety and improve resilience, setting a new standard for the global aviation industry. Efficiency and safety are the driving forces behind the use of remote towers.

Remote towers are planned in a number of countries. Remote tower solutions provide a smarter approach to air traffic control by digitising and integrating airport functions.

The state-of-the-art technology from Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions, which is tried and tested and already in use at Örnsköldsvik and Sundsvall airports in Sweden, offers several advantages for efficient air traffic management.

In 2019 NATS, Britain’s air-traffic management company, will replace the control tower at London City Airport with a remote service operating at NATS’s air-traffic control centre 145 km away. Saab has been testing the idea in several places outside Sweden. One is Australia, where video from the airport at Alice Springs, in the middle of the country, has been transmitted to air-traffic controllers in Adelaide, 1,500 km away on the south coast.

London City Airport has announced it is to become the first UK airport to build and operate a digital air traffic control tower, with a multi-million pound investment in the technology.

By introducing a completely digitalized panoramic view, a new world of aerodrome control emerges. Saab and the Swedish Air Navigation Service Provider, LFV, have successfully collaborated to put world’s first Remote Tower into operation.

These remote control towers receive a live video feed from cameras positioned around an airfield. The images are stitched together by computer and displayed on screens to create a virtual view of the runways and taxiways being monitored. In some cases the screens surround the air-traffic controllers, creating a 360° image. Separate screens can be used to display different airfields, because some remote towers will control flights in and out of a number of airports.

Efficiency and safety are the driving forces behind the use of remote towers. They offer the prospect of substantial savings as airports no longer need to build and maintain expensive tall structures. Operating costs should also fall, if air-traffic controllers are shared between a number of airports. Such savings should particularly help little-used airfields, which would pay for control-tower services only when needed. In Norway’s case, the overall cost of air-traffic services at the airports involved is expected fall by 30-40 per cent. That means lower fees for airlines and cheaper fares for passengers. 

‘Middle East aviation highly progressive in adopting latest innovative solutions’

Analogic Corporation, US-based leading edge healthcare and security technology solutions provider, made its Middle East debut of ConneCT, a breakthrough in checkpoint security scanning technology, during the recently held Airport Show in Dubai.

The company, which has been providing solutions to airports for over 16 years, views the Middle East aviation as a high potential market, that is keen on adopting latest innovative solutions.

Talking to Via Dubai, Mark Laustra, VP Global BD & Government Relations, Analogic, said the transformation being witnessed in Dubai is exemplary and Middle East cities are highly progressive when it comes to adopting the latest technology.

“The Middle East debut of ConneCT reflects our keenness to enter the Middle East market, which is very progressive. ConneCT is designed to dramatically improve security, lower airport screening costs and increase passenger throughout using an upgradeable computed tomography (CT) platform that makes it easy for airports and regulators to respond to changing security and operational requirements,” he said.

With features including an open network architecture, industry leading 3D imaging technology, and automated threat detection, it represents a transformative advancement in the security industry, comparable to the advent of smartphone in the telecom industry. “The existing technology uses 2D scanning, which means you cannot see underneath the bag without opening it, but in case of ConneCT, there is no need to open the bags and the system easily detects sensitive items and explosives. It increases passenger throughput significantly as it can scan over 300 passengers per hour compared to the existing 150 an hour,” said Laustra.

Asked about the challenges airports will face with international passenger numbers expected to rise to 7.2 billion by 2032, Laustra said airports need to not only invest in technology, but also integrate its use.

As airports worldwide explore new types of security lanes and tray return systems intended to streamline security process, Analogic says ConneCT was engineered to integrate with a wide variety of tray return systems, allowing airports to optimize checkpoints with the tray return systems of their choice.

The next-gen checkpoint scanner has an open architecture, allowing regulators to respond faster to threats. The ‘open system approach’, combined with Analogic’s superior 3D imaging technology, automated threat detection software, airport friendly user interface, and streamlined design will give airports in the Middle East the world class security solution they require, said Jim Ryan, senior Vice President of Security and Detection Systems. 

Maximus Air eyes expansion

Maximus Air is looking to expand its fleet and reach to new markets, according to its top official.

Operating out of Abu Dhabi Airport, Maximus Air specialises in end-to-end cargo solutions, especially moving outsized air cargo, using a fleet that includes an Antonov AN-124-100 and two Ilyushin IL-76TDs. Maximus Air is looking to expand its fleet and reach to new markets, according to its top official.

“We have three aircraft and we are looking to expand. We always look at opportunities in niche markets,” Maximus Air director Antonov & Illyushin Fleet Tony Sanders told Via Dubai.

The cargo carrier’s other segments include VIP transport; the transportation of dangerous goods; equestrian and other live animals; rapid response; and humanitarian relief goods.

As the most versatile of air cargo companies in the region, Maximus Air is capable of carrying loads up to 120 tonnes, from a small package that fits on a cargo pallet to a virtual ‘palace-on-wheels’, either through major airports or less established landing fields. “Our business is very good and we are pleased with the direction our business taken,” Sanders said.

Maximus Air can carry huge piece of cargo and very heavy piece of cargo as well, he informed. “Our system onboard is designed to carry very large pieces safely,” he added. The airline can go anywhere in the world, he said, adding that Maximus Air is authorised to operate in all continents including the US, South America, etc. Responding a question about offices in other parts of the word, he replied: “These time with modern communication there is no need to have offices everywhere. We can serve anywhere in the world from our Abu Dhabi office.”

The company’s philosophy is rooted in offering customers responsive, practical, and cost-effective solutions which combine a personal approach with customer service. This approach has led to it being crowned Cargo Operator of the Year (Cargo Airline) in 2008, 2010 and 2011 Middle East Supply Chain & Transport Awards. 

Airport Show-2017 a resounding success, concludes with over 7,200 attendees

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The 17th edition of the Airport Show, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airlines and Group, concluded with resounding success with more than 7,200 attendees from aviation industry worldwide. Reflecting a strong confidence in Middle East’s aviation sector and the Airport Show, more than 50 per cent of the exhibitors confirmed their participation for the next year.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed said: “The aviation industry expansion in the Middle East continues to surpass average global growth rates. Future projections are equally promising and are behind the ongoing and considerable investment in aircraft, technology and infrastructure.

The Airport Show brings together solution providers from around the world giving them the opportunity to explore the latest trends and bring forward innovative products and services designed to support ongoing industry growth and service enhancements.”

More than 300 exhibitors from 50 countries showcased a wide line-up of latest smart and innovative technologies and solutions during the 3-day show, which has established itself as the world’s largest annual B2B event.

Daniyal Qureshi, Group Exhibition Director, Reed Exhibitions Middle East, organisers for the Airport Show, said: “The unprecedented success of the Airport Show is a testament to the strong growth in the aviation industry in Middle East and the investment to the tune of billions of dollars toward expansion programmes, which are fueling global aviation growth. The collaborative opportunities approach if regional authorities and integrators with neighbouring authorities and global suppliers facilitates unparalleled opportunities.

We are proud to announce that more than 50 per cent of the exhibitors have booked for the next year’s Airport Show, which will be held from May 8-10, 2018.” The 17th edition of the Airport Show had the largest ever international representation with eight dedicated country pavilions, for global participants to showcase and launch their products, services and solutions. The exhibitors said Airport Show 2017 helped them strengthen their existing business relations and they also received serious business enquiries.

Strong confidence As Airport Show grew from strength to strength over the years, many exhibitors celebrated their long association with the iconic aviation event, also mirroring the opportunities generated with the strong growth of Middle East’s aviation industry .

The German Pavillion, the largest pavilion with 34 exhibitors, celebrated the 17th year of its participation at the Airport Show this year. Dieter Heinz, President of the German Association for Airport Technology and Equipment (GATE), founder of German Pavilion in Airport Show and an aviation industry veteran, said: “Dubai, in particular, the UAE and the Middle East, are among the most important markets for airport technology for us as they are always looking for the best technology and advanced systems. During these years of our participation at the Airport Show, there is a cooperation on both sides and the German companies have understood the requirements of the region, which they develop and bring the solutions and the technology to suit those requirements.

There is a local appreciation of the quality and reliability and confidence in German technology and in our association, we have not only catered on a large scale but also for small companies.”

He added, “Airport Show is one of the most attended aviation events and the show has grown over the years. We are very happy with our association and certainly look forward to our participation in the show next year.”

The France Pavilion, which made its first appearance at the Airport Show nine years ago, featured 14 exhibitors, providing the participants of the world’s leading B2B event for the airport industry the opportunity to gain insights into their latest portfolio of products and expertise in different domains.

The SWISS Pavilion was organised by T-LINK, which serves export oriented Swiss companies as an ideal networking platform to access the local market or to extend present business relationships. The Swiss and UK pavilions included 12 exhibitors each this year. The North American pavilion had seven exhibitors, while the China, Denmark and Benelux pavilions had 23 exhibitors.

Hosted Buyers The Business Connect programme at the Airport Show, that witnessed participation from over 200 buyers from more than 50 regional authorities, provided unparalleled opportunities to the participants. Reed Exhibitions Middle East said there were more than 1,500 meetings every day during the show.

4th WTCEME The 4th World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo Middle East (WTCEME), concluded successfully with exhibitors exploring new opportunities generated with the strong growth in the region’s aviation sector.

The Middle East region commands a big chunk in the global travel catering market, estimated at $15 billion and expected to increase to $17.6 billion by 2020. The region’s share in the global travel catering market has been fast rising above the global average growth of five per cent due to massive expansion of airports and airline networks.

More than 70 exhibitors showcased a wide range of travel catering services and solutions, including food, snacks, beverages, food packaging, processing, preparation and preservation equipment, tableware and chinaware, accessories, toiletries and travel amenities at the WTCEME.

Adriano Buono, Sales Manager, Laurieri, said the exhibition was good this time. “We met a couple of people and expect business deals later-on.”

The company already supplies its products to big airlines such as Al Italia, Air France, Swiss Air Austrian Airlines, and Saudi Airlines among others.

Buono mentioned that the company will participate in this exhibition next year. This year, it was their second participation.

Another Italian company Forno Damiani showcased their signature items at the show. Rita Preziotti, Marketing Manager of Italy’ leading snacks company launched its new products at the exhibition. “We introduced a new range of seven products at the exhibition. This is our first time and the exhibition was good to connect with aviation industry people,” she said.

Global Airport Leaders Forum (GALF) Aviation leaders and experts highlighted key aviation industry issues, challenges and opportunities for the industry worldwide during the 5th Global Airport Leaders Forum (GALF), co0located with the Airport Show.

The aviation industry experts highlighted that the industry is facing short-term and long-term challenges and there are also opportunities on increasing travel demand in the wake of competitive price on lower oil price. Paul Griffiths, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Airports, in his keynote address, talked about oil price, global economy, political unrest and consumer confidence as short-term factors. “If oil price goes up it will be another problem for the industry,” Griffiths said.

He added that technology, urbanisation, economic balance of power and resource scarcity are the long-term factors. He appreciated the role of technology to increase the customer experience at the airports.

The cost of infrastructure improvement is phenomenally high for any airport, he said adding that smart technology can play an important role to improve the capacity and service.

Dubai invested around $7.8 billion during the last two years to improve the infrastructure. “We are planning to increase the capacity of Dubai Airports to 118 million passengers by 2023 and we are expecting the number of passengers to increase at both the airports to 90 million by the end of 2017,” said Griffiths.

Dubai International ranked the world’s busiest airport for international traffic. Aviation sector is contributing a lot to Dubai’s GDP and also creating a lot of employment opportunities. He mentioned that the aviation will contribute $88.1 billion or 45 per cent of the Dubai GDP by 2030.

During another key-note address, General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Deputy Director General Omar Bin Ghaleb talked about UAE Aviation Outlook 2025. He hoped that by 2025 the country will successfully address many of the challenges to the industry by adopting corrective measures.

Aviation industry is going through a lot of changes in the wake of some uncertainties but it is a very interesting place to be, said Peter Harbison, Executive Chairman of CAPA- Centre for Aviation.

Women in Aviation Women in Aviation Middle East, hosted its 2nd General Assembly of Women in Aviation, held during the Airport Show. The general assembly was attended by eminent international women aviation leaders, aviation industry professionals and women aspiring to join aviation sector. The general assembly and career orientation programme provided the participants an opportunity to get inspired and hear women who are motivating millions with their success in this sector.

Among the sessions were a special panel on ‘Inspirational Stories’ of the most successful and talented women in aviation around the world who have made it to the top of their organisations, a session exploring the wide spectrum of roles in aviation, as well as a practical guide on how to excel in these roles for aspiring young professionals, a presentation on key developments that will shape the Middle East’s future aviation landscape and the economic stimulus these will create for the region and a panel discussion on preparing the aviation leaders of tomorrow. The 17th Airport Show was supported by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP), Dubai Airports, dnata, Supply Chain and Logistics Group (SCLG) of Middle East and UAE Contractors’ Association, alongwith with emaratech as the gold sponsor, FMT as the silver sponsor and Huawei as the ICT Partner. 

Optimising capacity

It is with pleasure that I contribute my first monthly column to Via Dubai. Airports Council International (ACI) and Dubai Civil Aviation Authority share the common vision of ensuring the industry’s sustainable growth. One of ACI’s prominent areas of focus is the safety and security of the traveling public, a fundamental pillar of this vision...

‘Data analysis important to enhance safety standards’

There is no second opinion that safety is the top priority in the aviation industry and, like any other industry, data is very important to improve the safety standards in the industry.

Nowadays it’s big data world and there is no exception for the aviation industry where only a single twin-engine aircraft with 12-hour flight time can produce up to 844 TB of data.

Now the challenge comes to analyse this huge data and use it to improve the safety standards in the aviation industry. Sarah Westley, Head of Marketing and Sales, Flight Data Services, in an interview with Via Dubai, highlighted the importance of data analysis in the industry.

“We do flight data analysis which is taking data from the black box recorder on aircraft, we upload it to our data centre and we turn it into safety statistics trends and information for airlines,” she said. Westley, who was in Dubai to attend the recently held 5th World Aviation Safety Summit,explained: “We put this data into our website. They go to our website and view the safety information.”

Flight Data Services are the largest dedicated provider of Flight Data Analysis (FDA) incorporating Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) and Flight Operations Quality Assurance and are committed to advancing aviation safety through the innovative use of flight data.

Flight Data Services has around 130 customers across the global and receives about 4,500 flights data every day and 2.5 million flights a year.

The flight data comes through a wireless link soon after the aircraft lands, she said adding: “There is another option where maintenance man take data from the black box recorder and send transfer it to our secure server.”

The UK-based company has a lot of corporate operators from Americas in addition to around 70 commercial operators. “We have small operators as well as big commercial operators as our clients,” she said.

The 17 years old company, founded by Dave Jesse, has a team of about 45 people as flight data services as a whole based in Singapore and US. She mentioned that most of the data analysis work is done by a software and then data experts consider it for any safety issues.

The company’s Flight Data Analysis (FDA) service, Flight Data Connect, offers a scalable and cost effective service assisting the detection and identification of safety risks and trends, alongside the option to participate in the FDX programme – which is aviation’s only global data-sharing program from IATA. Talking about the benefits of Flight Data Connect, she said Advanced Flight Data Analysis tools making it easy for operators to identify safety issues.

Flight Data Analysis is the process of examining flight data to improve and monitor operational safety. Implementing Flight Data Connect will allow operators to compare actual flight measurements taken from ‘black box’ data against Standard Operating Procedures.

In the wake of safety collaboration with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to provide services for their new Flight Data Analysis Service, the company expanded its team last year with the opening of new Asia Flight Services creating a 24/7 operation with increased global coverage. 

Sanad Academy, DCAA launch first ever drones’ awareness campaign

Sanad Academy, UAE’s first RPAS training academy, along with the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), and representation from Ministry of Defense, hosted the first ever of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), “All About Drones” awareness initiative for the general public. The event was attended by more than 100 hobbyists, professional and commercial operators from Dubai.

Michael Rudolph, Head of Airspace Safety, Aviation Safety & Environment Sector, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, and Yahya Al Zarooni, Security Officer from Ministry of Defense, explained the rules and regulations, as well as responded to many questions about RPAS/Drone operations within the Emirate of Dubai.

Michael Rudolph said: “The DCAA has registered over 800 RPAS or drone operators in Dubai and the number is increasing daily. According to the new regulatory framework, every drone operator needs to be registered with the DCAA.

As the local Authority, the DCAA wants to ensure that every operator, whether hobbyist, professional and or commercial, operates safely within the rules and regulations of the DCAA, while in the Emirate of Dubai. To address the questions which operators had, ranging from rules, registration requirements, safe areas for drone photography, RPAS/Drone safety and maintenance, we are creating awareness about safe drone operations at every level.

Today’s initiative, organized by Sanad Academy, and supported by the DCAA, is the first where we are directly interacting with public. Further, education as well as school participation and training programs in this technology will be announced soon.

As part of the DCAA’s Regulatory framework and in support of Law (7) of 2015, concerning airspace safety and security, as well as the most recent Resolution (4) to this Law, it is mandatory for all operators (Commercial and Non-Commercial) to register their RPAS with DCAA. This is to enable them to operate safely and legally within the Emirate of Dubai.

Addressing the queries by operators, Michael Rudolph said: “If you purchase a drone, you are required to register with DCAA. We have the regulation, security check and training requirement for the operators, all of which ensures that you fly safely and we keep Dubai’s skies safe.” Rudolph explained that drone operators can also get third-party insurance for their Drone operations.

He also asked operators to ensure that they do not breach privacy laws when they take images and do not fly their RPAS in any way that could endanger people and or property.

“It is illegal to fly your RPAS over congested areas such as streets, and within 50 metres of a person, vehicle, building structure or overhead groups of people at any height as well as stay well clear of the no-fly zones and all sensitive areas around airports, airfields and all other security and Government Installations” he said.

Mansour Al Blooshi, Chairman of Sanad Air Academy, which has been endorsed by the DCAA to provide for RPAS/Drone training, and or registration, said: “We have registered as competent, more than 400 operators and about 80 government entities within the last year.

The certification involves both flight training, as well as system checks on the RPAS/Drone for safe operations. The operators are given basic, professional and commercial certification on successfully completing theory, flight test, airworthiness on their RPAS/Drone, as well as a verbal interview on their skillset.

A training log is created to monitor the progress of the operator through various levels of instruction. This awareness campaign is the beginning of further awareness sessions for RPAS operators within Dubai.”

Sanad Academy, which has been in operation for over a year now, adopts a testing criteria specially designed to fairly evaluate drone operator’s knowledge and skillset as to safe drone operations and flight skills. Sanad also tests the operators drone and support equipment to ensure full compliance with DCAA safety standards.

Sheban Naim, a hobbyist and commercial drone operator, who attended the awareness campaign, said: “The direct interaction with DCAA has been immensely helpful, the operators gained a lot of clarity on rules and regulations and many doubts were clarified directly by the authority, which makes us confident about flying safely.”

Phil Angel, a commercial Operator of RPAS/Drones within the UAE said “DCAA remains a world leader in Drone/RPAS Registration, Safety Oversight, Tracking, and Governance, and their continued support of the UAS Industry is recognised worldwide”. 

‘World Aviation Safety Summit, an ideal platform for aviation experts to discuss challenges in aviation safety’

Hafidh Masoud, Head of Airport Safety, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA)

The 5th edition of the World Aviation Safety Summit, hosted by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) was a resounding success as it brought together over 450 global leaders and decision makers in aviation safety on a common platform.

The summit has established itself as an ideal meeting place for thought leaders of the global aviation safety sector to discuss essential safety measures in order to efficiently manage the processes, threats, risks and calamities facing aviation safety professionals worldwide.

Hafidh Masoud, Head of Airport Safety, DCAA, who is also the Project Manager for the summit, spoke to Via Dubai about WASS and how the department contributes to ensuring safety of Dubai’s skies.

Excerpts from the interview:

Can you share with us the role of your section and its achievements in DCAA.

Our section is responsible for overseeing and promoting safety related issues in the aviation industry within the emirate of Dubai. The section supervises and controls all activities that could affect safety based on International Civil Aviation Organizations (ICAO) and GCAA standards and regulations in aerodromes safety , We conduct regular inspections at both the Dubai International and DWC airports, as well as helipads .

We give our recommendations, based on our inspections, to the operators to take measures to enhance safety in case we notice any risks or observe that any additional measures could further enhance the safety. Recently, we are also focusing on wildlife management.

Can you please elaborate on safety and wildlife management?

We are planning to enter into MOU with the Dubai Municipality so that whenever they start a new project such a natural reserve, a sanctuary, they will obtain an NOC from us. Wildlife can affect safety of airways.

Our role is to conduct a risk assessment and check the impact wildlife could have on the safety. Once we ensure that there is no danger to the safety of flights, we will give a no objection certificate.

This is a step forward to ensure safety within the emirates of Dubai, as we want to take care of the possible issues even before they could arise and don’t want to leave any area unattended.

The DCAA successfully hosted the 5th edition of the World Aviation Safety Summit recently. Can you share with us how the summit has contributed to the regional and global aviation industry?

The World Aviation Safety Summit hosted by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority has become the meeting place for thought leaders of the global aviation safety sector to discuss essential safety measures in order to efficiently manage the processes, threats, risks and calamities facing aviation safety professionals worldwide.

The summit has come a long way and this year we are pleased to announce that WASS had 450 local and international experts from regulatory authorities, airline operators, airport operators, aircraft manufacturers, pilot associations, safety organization’s and air traffic control service providers, who highlighted key strategies for the safety culture of the future. With air traffic projected to double in the next 15 years, WASS has become an ideal platform to discuss amongst industry professionals how we can support the rising challenges and demands of the booming aviation sector in Dubai. 

DCAA successfully hosts 5th edition of WASS

The 5th edition of the World Aviation Safety Summit, hosted by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), was a resounding success with more than 450 local and international aviation industry experts discussing the most pressing issues concerning aviation safety and proposing new strategies for the sector.

Mohammed Abdulla Ahli, Director General of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, said: “With our growing presence on the global aviation scene and the solid status as an international aviation hub, we are committed to improving safety standards across the sector.

As the sector and the industry continue to grow, as well as the number of safety factors that need to be taken into account, and that’s why the 5th edition of WASS witnessed discussions on a broad range of topics. The summit advanced local, regional and international understandings of some of the most pressing issues facing carriers today, and also provided a cutting-edge and innovative response to current challenges.” The two-day summit engaged local and international stakeholders from regulatory authorities, airline operators, airport operators, aircraft manufacturers, pilot associations, safety organisations and air traffic control service providers to highlight key strategies for the safety culture of the future.

Khaled Al Arif, Executive Director Aviation Safety and Environment at DCAA, welcomed delegates, saying: “In its fifth edition with participation increasing every year, it is clear that the industry is looking to further its knowledge and ensure a safe and successful future for air travel.”

Michael Rudolf, Head of Aviation Regulations and Safety at DCAA, discussed the Authority’s latest procedures and application process for commercial drone operators, which includes detailed background checks and pre-authorized location selection. Rudolf highlighted that DCAA is working on signing an MoU with retailers to setup a process by which drone users must register their drone before being able to physically receive the devices.

Another theme throughout the Summit’s panel talks and keynote speeches was the discrepancy between reality and perception of aviation safety. While flying remains safest means of long-distance travel, high-profile incidents and other threats have affected perceptions. WASS Chairman and prominent aviation analyst Alan Peaford highlighted a recent survey by Ascend, in which 47% of respondents felt that flight safety has either deteriorated or remained the same, despite the fact that aviation safety has improved five-fold globally over the past decade.

IATA figures identified that there were 10 fatal accidents in 2016, representing improvements to aviation safety and security across the board. The overall accident rate reduced from 1.79 per 1 million flights in 2015 to 1.61 last year.

In order to keep airfields safe, flight crews need a clear, safe and consistent operating environment that avoids confusion, said Andrew Green, Manager Aerodrome Safety & Standards, Aviation & Airports Safety Department at Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA). He said a more consistent approach is needed in terms of signs and instructions at airport runways to ensure airfield safety is kept to the highest standards.

Andrew added that Dubai International Airport is consistent in its runway environment. He also highlighted some specific reasons why other airports are reluctant to implement best practice. These reasons include a lack of a regulatory requirement, cost of implementation, more training being required and in some cases not enough experience to implement.

He emphasized that most runway incursions occur in good met conditions, with most accidents occurring at night or in poor visibility. Bhamidipati Srinivas, Head of Aviation Safety, Bangalore International Airport, commented that improved communication is necessary to reduce runway excursions. He also called for increased training for controllers and Air Navigation Service Providers as well as improved speed control and clearer information for Automatic Terminal Information Services in global airports.

David Gleave, a Chief Safety Investigator, argued that improved instructions are needed at all runways and that geometry should always be considered in order to improve safety.

According to IATA, last year some 3.8 billion travellers flew safely on 40.4 million flights. Flying is still the safest form of long distance travel. For IATA safety remains the top priority of all involved in aviation with a goal for every flight to depart and arrive without incident. 

Financing future prosperity

Angela Gittens, Director General, Airports Council International (ACI)

Angela Gittens, Director General, Airports Council International (ACI)

Resilient infrastructure is the bedrock for the sustainable development of modern economies. In many parts of the world, airport operators face capacity constraints which has resulted in bottlenecks and flight delays.

ACI forecasts a 33 per cent growth in global passenger volumes from 2015–2020, a volume that would cause many national governments to face a predicament where the surge in air transport demand outstrips available airport infrastructure. This is particularly relevant to the Middle East, where passenger volumes in the medium-term is expected to grow more than any other region, at 9.6 per cent annually on average.

Established in 2015, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call on the international community to pledge a plan of action based on 17 global targets that aim to ensure prosperity, peace and to eradicate poverty by 2030. SDG 9, “[b]uild resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation,” is directly pertinent to the airport industry and the economies that it serves around the globe.

Under the umbrella of SDG 9, ACI has released a Policy Brief on airport ownership, economic regulation and financial performance, that describes the state of the industry based on a robust dataset and inventory of the world’s major commercial airports and puts forth practical policy recommendations to ensure that investment is attracted to the industry. The Brief emphasizes the need for flexibility and consistency in regulatory frameworks that govern airport revenues and capital investments. Specifically, it advocates a move toward well-crafted economic incentives that enables private equity to flow to the airport industry and helps contain the level of risk of such a capital intensive investment.

The fundamental motive for airport privatizations or public-private partnerships is to finance what States are no longer able or willing to finance. Where infrastructure constraints persist and renewal is required, airport companies, private investors and other consortia provide viable solutions to many of our infrastructure problems. Private sector stakeholders bring commercially-driven management and expertise, which in turn generate value and innovations for airline customers and passengers, but they also expect a return for the risk in investment.

ACI does not however prescribe any specific ownership model. Each ownership model should guarantee flexibility to airport operators in developing both the aeronautical and non-aeronautical sides of the business to achieve a reasonable return on investment.

Airports are wealth generators for other stakeholders in the air transport value chain and their socio-economic impact and multiplier effect extends to the broader economy. ACI seeks to work in partnership with governments, regulators and other aviation stakeholders to ensure that we develop a fertile ground for industry investments to achieve the 2030 SDG.