What’s next for aviation‭? ‬ The future starts now

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...

Focus on Aviation Security

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...

Emerging economies to drive global growth

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 must develop non-aeronautical activities

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...

Meeting future challenges of air navigation

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...

World Airport Traffic Forecasts 2017–2040

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...

Networks and the sustainability of small airports

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...

Welcoming industry colleagues to Mauritius

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...

Bold leadership in a time of change

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...

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. 