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


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.

A pat for UAE airports

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

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

Airports Council International (ACI) recently announced the winners of the 2016 Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards, recognising those airports whose customers rated them as delivering the best overall experience during the year. We are proud to say that ASQ is the only customer service benchmarking programme that surveys airport customers on their day of travel; it is not available to individuals that may not have actually experienced the airport nor does it rely on memory.

In the ten years of learning about their customers and recognizing that the customer experience is a competitive factor in the attraction and retention of air service for their communities, airport managers around the world have consistently raised their customer service levels. As such, we have our largest group of winners yet with categories that have been designed to recognize the achievements of airports of different sizes and in different regions.

The UAE airports have definitely distinguished themselves. I congratulate Abu Dhabi International Airport for having won first place in Best Airport by Region and Most Improved Airport; and, Dubai International Airport for having won third place in Best Airport by Region. 

The ASQ Survey measures customers’ evaluations of 34 key performance indicators, including check-in, security screening, restrooms, stores and restaurants, virtually every touchpoint of the passenger’s journey at the airport. The fact that every airport in the programme uses the same survey allows airport management to benchmark themselves to others as well as to themselves over time, and provides them with the tools to adapt to their customers’ needs as they evolve. Promoting a culture of continuous service improvement has also become a matter of optimizing non-aeronautical revenue performance, as we have learned from a study undertaken last year.

ACI will hold a celebration of the winners of the 2016 ASQ Awards at the 27th ACI Africa/World Annual General Assembly, Conference & Exhibition in Port Louis, Mauritius, 16–18 October 2017. The official ceremony will be Tuesday 17 October where the world’s airports will proudly recognize the outstanding accomplishments of the best. 



Angela Gittens, Director General, Airports Council International (ACI), will be continuing her exclusive column in Via Dubai’s forthcoming issues.

Cautious optimism

Alexandre de Juniac,  Director-General and CEO, IATA

Alexandre de Juniac, Director-General and CEO, IATA

This World Cargo Symposium is meeting at a time of cautious optimism, which is far too rare in the air cargo industry. After several years of virtually no growth, we are starting to see demand pick up. Freight volumes began to grow in the second half of 2016. And the momentum is carrying over into this year with January demand rising nearly 7 per cent over the previous year. 

There are some positive forces supporting growth. Export orders are strong. That’s a welcome development after world trade has essentially flat-lined for the last several years. 

E-commerce, which depends heavily on air cargo, is growing at a double digit rate. The world continues to transform into a global cyber-store. Customers in the internet age are demanding almost immediate fulfilment of their orders. 

High-value specialised cargo is also showing great potential. The total global pharma market is expected to reach $1.12 trillion by 2022, creating significant opportunity for air cargo. A substantial part of this market is the transport of temperature-sensitive healthcare goods such as cold chain drugs and biopharma products - typically shipped by air. Currently $12 billion is spent worldwide on cold chain biopharma logistics. By 2020, it is estimated that this will rise to $16.7 billion. 

Of course, we all know that growth and profitable growth are very different concepts. And even though the year has started with some positive signs, we are still in a very tough business. Yields are under lots of pressure. Airlines are taking delivery of long-haul aircraft to meet growing passenger demand capacity. And each long-haul aircraft comes with a belly hungry for cargo. 

More broadly, we must all be concerned about the protectionist rhetoric that is spreading. Aviation is the business of freedom. The industry is premised on borders that are open to people and trade. That is at the heart of the important role that we play in globalisation. 

We must also pay attention to what our customers are telling us. Two of the fastest growing and most profitable parts of the business are focused on meeting specific customer needs—e-commerce as well as time- and temperature-sensitive cargo. That’s proof that we are successful when we are able to understand customer needs and create products to satisfy them.  

Excerpted from a speech at the World Cargo Symposium in Abu Dhabi.

Integrated processes, technology to ensure safety

Nina Brooks, ACI World’s Head of Security.

Nina Brooks, ACI World’s Head of Security.

Growing passenger numbers and resources needs call for a paradigm shift towards a collaborative effort between all stakeholders. Greater emphasis should be placed on automating and adoption of technology.

It goes without saying that maintaining the safety and security of the travelling public is the top priority for airports and it involves multiple layers of integrated processes and technologies to detect threats and/or mitigate risks. 

The changing variables of threat, growing passenger numbers and limitations on resources calls for a paradigm shift towards a genuinely risk managed approach and a collaborative effort between all stakeholders. The key activities being undertaken by ACI all contribute to addressing these challenges, said Nina Brooks, ACI World’s Head of Security. 

The joint International Aviation Transport Association (IATA)/ACI Smart Security programme provides an example of how a more sustainable, efficient and effective passenger screening process can be implemented to strengthen security, increase operational efficiency and improve the passenger experience. 

One of the next key items on the agenda is to conduct further research into how different methods of risk-based differentiation can be best applied. Other technologies are also being tested such as automated systems to further enhance the screener’s threat detection capability. 

The need to protect landside areas has once again been brought sharply into focus. More screening is not the answer; moving queues to other areas of the terminal simply shifts the vulnerability. However, removing queues and crowds makes the target far less attractive. 

ACI plans to work with IATA on the smarter design of processes that reduce passenger touchpoints and eliminate queues throughout the passenger journey. 

“Alongside this project, we will also continue to work collaboratively with the ACI regions to develop guidance material in support of landside security, including behaviour detection, surveillance and security culture, as well as advocating for better intelligence and information sharing. 

“Our capacity building activities help to ensure that all of the layers of security are applied globally and consistently. A solid risk management approach, good training and a robust security culture is needed everywhere,” she said. 

By raising the bar on security in all airports, the overall system becomes more secure and efficient as additional measures such as gate screening for specific flights and the rescreening of transfer passengers can start to be eliminated. Aimed specifically at airports, ACI World has recently completed the first pilot of its Airport Excellence (APEX) in Security initiative and hopes to be able to launch the programme in full early next year. 

The intention of the programme is to enable airports in need of assistance to benefit from the experience of others. 

Through actively working with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and its key working groups of the Aviation Security Panel, ACI will be able to represent airport interests and advocate for regulation that takes into account airports’ needs and limitations. 

“This is a key area of work and we will continue to contribute actively to ICAO standards, recommended practices and guidance material.

“The development of airport best practices and provision of training enables us to support capacity building efforts. This will be a priority in coming years, enabling ACI to broaden its outreach and help airports to implement the most appropriate measures for their environment,” said David Gamper, ACI World’s Director of Safety. 

ACI’s strategy in security, focusing on the delivery of best practices, capacity building and collaboration between airport, airline and government stakeholders, aims to create a more sustainable and well-rounded security system that meets the needs of our airports for the future. 

Drivers for change

A number of key areas have been identified as drivers for change and in many cases these are dependent on each other, such as process improvement for identity management, which needs a combination of regulatory change, the use of automation and the better use of data. 

There are already many initiatives that identify self-service solutions throughout the passenger journey, including check-in, bag drop, self-tagging, re-booking and boarding processes. 

Automation and technology

Greater use of automation for processes such as the collection of biometrics, automated document verification and payment of departure taxes would enable processes to be implemented at remote locations, off-airport or using mobile technologies. 

Arguably greater emphasis should also be placed on either automating and eliminating processes or moving them away from the airport completely. Remote/mobile check-in and printing baggage tags at home already provide examples of this and perhaps one day there will be no need to use any on-site check-in technology. 

Another area where technology is starting to play a key role is in the provision of timely information for passengers. Knowing security wait times in advance of travel courtesy of mobile applications, for example, can actually change the way people behave at airports. 

And this type of technology offers further opportunities to streamline passenger journeys and subsequently the habits of airport visitors. Knowing the approximate time it will take passengers to get from their arrivals gate to kerbside, for instance, could enable those picking them up to arrive at the airport/terminal at a more appropriate time. 

Apex programme

In the context of airport safety, ACI has conceived and implemented a programme called ACI Airport Excellence (Apex) designed to provide assistance for ACI members to improve their level of safety and compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices. 

“Since the programme’s launch, we have had close to 60 reviews performed worldwide and have built a pool of over 130 safety assessors from over 60 different airports and international organisations,” said Danny Boutin, ACI World’s Senior Manager, APEX Programmes. 

It offers host airports an on-site safety review performed by the ACI Safety Review Team, consisting of active airport professionals. The team identifies safety gaps and develops an action/ implementation plan to address these gaps, helping the host airport achieve certification if need be. 

ACI also assists throughout the implementation phase by providing support, training and access to a global network of expertise. 

“Apex will be placing more emphasis on data collection. While remaining confidential, collected data from our missions will help identify safety gaps and areas of improvement in each of the regions, enabling ACI to better target the needs for assistance and create the most appropriate training. 

“It will also provide valuable information for the ACI Safety and Technical Standing Committee to evaluate the need for handbooks and other tools such as best practices for the benefit of the industry at large,” he said.

The challenge of mega airports

With tremendous growth forecast in aviation, governments and airport authorities are investing significantly in airport facilities and infrastructure. Airlines are pursuing expansion plans and to maximise connectivity. 

By Jeffery Oboy, Soeren Bilet and Simon Kahle

Cities across Latin America, the Middle East and Asia Pacific are experiencing tremendous growth in air traffic. Growth is especially being witnessed in those cities optimally located for connecting regions and continents such as Mexico City for those west of the Atlantic and Dubai for those east of the Atlantic. 

Welcoming this tremendous growth in aviation, governments and their airport authorities are investing significantly in airport facilities and infrastructure. 

Even as new terminals, concourses, parking positions and runways are built, many airports still lack the capacity to meet demand. 

Development in Traffic

The world’s top airlines as well as those aspiring to be on the top are pursuing aggressive growth plans. The top 15 transfer-driven airlines (ranked by revenue passenger kilometres) are achieving year-on-year growth levels such as 10.1 per cent, 12.7 per cent and even 20 per cent. 

Large transfer-driven airlines are looking to grow the size of their arrival and departure peaks. Larger peaks mean more passengers will arrive and depart during the busiest times, which is a major challenge for most airports’ current airfield and terminal capacity limitations. Already 47 of 55 aviation mega-cities (more than 10,000 daily long-haul passengers) are schedule-constrained, according to Airbus Global Market Forecast 2016-2035. 

Growing Service Expectations

Transfer-driven airlines are also pursuing higher service standards both on board and at their airport hubs. When it comes to growing capacity, and improving service levels, airports generally have five options: Expanding Facilities; Reconfiguring the Airport’s Setup; Increasing Equipment and Staff Levels; Increasing Resource Throughput; and Optimizing the Peaks. 

Expanding Facilities: Airport authorities have continued to expand facilities at their airports through new terminals, concourses, aircraft parking positions and, in some cases, runways. Reconfiguring the Airport’s Setup: Another strategy airports pursue to increase airport capacity, especially for their main airline tenants, is reassigning terminal and terminal adjacent areas amongst current airlines. Some airports also work with airlines (especially freighters and general aviation) to shift their operations to nearby airports. 

Increasing Equipment and Staff Levels: Equipment and staff levels can most often be increased for strengthening terminal capacity and subsequently service levels. 

Increasing Resource Throughput: Capacity can be increased by strengthening the productivity of resources both in the terminal and on the airfield. This is achieved in several ways, such as increasing reliability, processing speeds and resource management effectiveness by using new methods and technology.

Optimizing the Peaks: Some transfer-driven airlines schedule their flights to arrive and depart within short periods of time, which is known as “banking.” For them to maximize their revenue and connectivity, they must drive greater growth in and closer proximity between their arrival and departure peaks. 

Airport authorities must look closely at the main drivers and constraints of its seasonal capacity. 

Future Bottlenecks: Determine where air services will be constrained and the underlying reason(s) such as processing times, reliability or desired level of service. 

Operational Benchmarks: Determine the current, industry best and potential performance levels of critical operational bottlenecks. 

Concept of Operations: Determine which bottlenecks can be relieved and how (i.e. future ways of working on the frontline and behind-the-scenes) 

Future Capacity & Service Levels: Determine future levels of airport capacity and service that can be expected with changes made and the remaining spillover of air services if any. 

Development Strategy: Determine individual project plans, program setup and action plan for making the changes happen. 

Shaping the Future

When the time comes to shape the future ‘Concept of Operations’, one does not have to look far to find out what the latest technologies are for simplifying the aircraft, passenger, baggage and cargo journeys. Be it separation advancements for aircraft, self-service for passengers, RFID for baggage or going paperless for cargo, the opportunities seem endless. 

To optimise resource management, airports must leverage smart planning services supported by IT. 

Airports are supporting their resource planning, scheduling, and controlling teams with: 

Greater process automation: Increase planner and controller speed and productivity by eliminating manual data transfers and workflows; 

Scenario-based planning capabilities: Increase planner effectiveness by reporting changes to assumptions (e.g. schedule, capacity development plan) and their impact on the resource forecast; 

Scenario-based controlling capabilities: Increase controller speed and effectiveness by preparing for potential changes to the plan (e.g. schedule, resource availability) and their impact on the operation; 

Continuous improvement: Share post-operation statistics on deviations between forecasted and actual resource count to create a learning environment; 

Operations as a service: Outsource IT intensive and/or non-continuous functions; 

Schedule stability: Reduce the number of schedule changes to allow the most optimal resource schedule to be generated; and 

Decision support: Increase planner and controller effectiveness by leveraging state-of-the-art optimizers and playgrounds. 

Maximise productivity

While further facilities will come eventually, airlines and airport authorities must do more now to maximize the productivity of their current assets both in the terminal and across the airfield. 

This can be achieved by deploying resource management practices that embrace efficient and effective collaboration with airport authorities, airlines, ground handlers, air traffic control and government authorities.  

Excerpted from a report “The Threat of Our Mega and Wannabe Mega Airports” by authors Jeffery Oboy, Soeren Bilet and Simon Kahle, of M2P (Mostert. Ploog & Partners)

Accident Investigation & Aircraft Oversight Department to be fully smart by 2018

Ali Mohammad Abbas, Accident Investigation Officer-Accident Investigation Section, Accident Investigation & Aircraft Oversight Department, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA)

Ali Mohammad Abbas, Accident Investigation Officer-Accident Investigation Section, Accident Investigation & Aircraft Oversight Department, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA)

The Accident Investigation and Aircraft Oversight Department of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) plays a highly important role towards ensuring safety of Dubai’s skies through detailed and timely analysis of accidents and issuance of safety recommendations to enhance preventive measures.

“We work in coordination with other entities including the GCAA with the main focus on ensuring safety of Dubai’s skies in all possible aspects,” Ali Mohammad Abbas, Accident Investigation Officer from the Accident Investigation Section of the department in DCAA, told Via Dubai. 

The department is continuously working toward enhancing its operations and will soon incorporate drones in the purview of its operations, said Abbas. 

Abbas, who is the recipient of ‘Best Innovative Thinking Award’ from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE’s Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, for the first-ever innovative idea of a radar that deals with the challenges posed by drones, said the work culture at the DCAA inspires all its employees to give their best at all times and in this encouraging environment, he continues to work on more innovative ideas and is firmly committed to give better than his best. 

Excerpts from the interview: 

You were recently awarded with the ‘Best Innovative Thinking’ award. Can you share with us the idea that brought the award. 

The DCAA has created a work environment for us that inspires us to be innovative and to contribute to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE’s Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. 

In November last year, I was awarded with the ‘Best Innovative Thinking’ award by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed. 

Having been involved with the challenges posed by drones to the safety of our skies, I came up with an idea to have a system, which is a combination of few radars, that can detect drones, get full specifications and stops them from disturbing the airspace. 

This idea was presented and was accepted by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Smart Majlis and redirected to the concerned parties. 

We were the first in the world to present this idea. 

The recognition that came through this award is a great inspiration to continue giving my best and I am working on more new ideas. I must say the encouraging work environment at the DCAA bring continuous motivation. 

How do you and your department contribute to the DCAA’s aim of ensuring the safety of Dubai’s skies. 

My responsibility is to attend the reported accidents and incidents in Dubai, Dubai

We work in coordination with different entities including the GCAA, Dubai Airports and those concerned. We evaluate the scene, investigate How did the occurrence take place, , communicate with the entities involved, and finally generate a report with the related safety recommendations. 

As you know aviation industry is growing rapidly and safety is the top priority. Our reports support the pillar of safety. Through our recommendations, we try to help entities prevent something that could happen in the future. Through these reports we analyse as well as make suggestions. 

If we find, for instance, that the issue was related to process, we bring the attention of the concerned entity to the issue so they can improve. Our recommendations are based on an indepth observation and analysis and go far beyond the surface level. 

For example, a simple situation where a human error occurs can result in a safety recommendation that involves a full review of the entire entity’s operation in relation to the duty rostering and overtime limitations, in order to eliminate the root cause these preventive measures has to be looked at. 

Which are the most common types of accidents and what are the common reasons? 

The nature of accidents is very diverse, each accident is different. There could be major or minor accidents ranging from total loss of an aircraft to minor dents on a fuselage structure, the amount of damage is irrelevant in some cases, due to the fact that a safety barrier failed which resulted in the occurrence. 

The reasons also vary. It could be human error or a technical glitch. I must add that in Dubai, we have solid processes in place to help prevent these occurrences. 

How strong is DCAA’s investigation department? 

For us, we consider ourselves as our competition. The focus is to continue improving from where we are. Having said that, our department is very strong and our contribution to the aviation safety clearly show that fact. 

Our section, in particular, has staff with different types of expertise- operational, investigation, engineering and other areas. 

Having this team prepared 24x7 to cover the entirety of Dubai including Dubai Airport and Al Maktoum International is very important. 

The DCAA’s stakeholders know that there is a department that backs them and prepares constructive reports for the industry. This is a trust that we honour. 

We try to constantly upgrade and improve ourselves and keep ourselves updated all the time. 

What are the plans to further enhance the operations of your department? 

We do have a plan of going fully smart in 2018 and we have started that in several aspects right now. 

One of the innovative ideas that is implemented already is to incorporate drones in our investigations. 

The staff is already undergoing training for this. 

We will be able to present the reports in no time as the smart system will assist in reducing the time consumption in preparing safety reports the system will be very dynamic while being engaged in preparing the reports. 

Q. What is the best part of your work at the DCAA? 

Routine is not a part of our job, everyday there is something new, something exciting and stimulating. As our work has a big impact on the safety of the aviation industry, we get lots of opportunities to interact with the best minds from top organisations and entities, which I would say, is a blessing in itself. 

I feel that all of us in our section give our best at all times. We are ahead of our problems and feel empowered due to the support from our higher management. The work culture is very encouraging and always inspiring to continue toward excellence. 

DCAA supports Sanad Academy

SANAD Academy

The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) has issued a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for Sanad Academy. 

The academy, the first in the UAE to get the NOC, is one of the first RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) training as well as consultation providers in the Arab world. 

DCAA has contributed significantly to provide all the support for the Academy and follow-up on their proposed projects, where the goal of the academy is to be a technical and consultant reference to any government or private agency which use drones. 

The academy presented Sanad Smart Ring project with support and follow up of DCAA in The UAE Drones for Good Award, which is the only project that was presented with a support of a government entity, where it got the first place in the award. 

The academy works in cooperation with DCAA to provide all the support and information to amateurs, companies and government entities on the methods of using drones according to the laws and safety procedures, educating them with the best ways to use drones while preserving aviation safety. 

DCAA is looking forward to support such academies specialized in drone activity, and encourage an increase in the numbers of such academies, because of its importance and that of the role it plays in educating and giving consultations to everyone in the society. 

DCAA to host World Aviation Safety Summit in Dubai

Local and international aviation experts to analyse essential safety measures

The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) will be hosting the fifth edition of World Aviation Safety Summit (WASS 2017) on April 11 and 12, 2017 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

WASS 2017 will highlight key strategies for the safety culture of the future by engaging with local and international stakeholders from regulatory authorities, airline operators, airport operators, aircraft manufacturers, pilot associations, safety organisations and air traffic control service providers. 

The Summit will address how the aviation industry implements essential safety measures in order to efficiently manage the processes, threats and risks facing aviation safety professionals worldwide. The Summit will also closely examine best practices in crisis communications, reputation management, safety performance and wildlife management. 

H.E. Mohammed Abdulla Ahli, Director General of DCAA, said: “We are committed to the development of safety in the aviation sector locally, regionally and internationally. We are dedicated to backing the Summit and look forward to supporting the learning and innovations that come out of the global gathering. 

We believe that bringing global safety experts together will make a genuine difference to the industry, enhance performance levels and highlight Dubai’s commitment to ensuring a safe and secure future for air travel.” 

Some of the sessions at WASS include enhancing safe and secure operations; overflight and handling a complex geopolitical environment; safety performance, monitoring, measurement and benchmarking; business continuity and air safety; cyber security for safety; and risk management and predictive safety. 

Nick Webb, Managing Partner at Streamline Marketing Group, the event organisers, said: “Returning for its 5th edition, WASS has established itself as an ideal platform for thought leaders of the global aviation safety sector to come together and discuss essential safety measures. Air traffic is booming, and with such rapid growth it is critical that industry and safety experts discuss solutions to the challenges and ever-growing demands of the industry. We look forward to welcoming the world’s global aviation safety experts in Dubai for the fifth edition of the Summit.” 

As WASS’s Association Partner, experts from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will provide attendees with updates on the latest industry safety trends and best practices. 

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