Domestic liberalisation in the aviation industry has brought in large benefits to the MENA region. The liberalisation has benefited all the major stakeholders of the industry, including passengers, airline companies and employees as well, said Dr Majdi Sabri, Vice President-MENA, IATA.
Addressing the opening session of the second day of Doha Aviation Summit, he said the liberalisation has helped sprouting new airlines and delivering economic benefits in the region.
Dubai’s liberal policy created a successful airline and airport and recorded a 20 percent annual growth. Lebanon and Kuwait have opened up their skies enhancing their traffic load. Morocco’s open sky policy and its deal with the Europe have boosted its tourist inflow recording a bourgeoning 10 million per annum. The Royal Air Morocco has emerged as stronger and more competitive, he said.
“Liberalisation has stimulated traffic, generated new demands, helped filling airports and generated more jobs”, Dr Sabri said. In 1940’s the total number of passengers in the region was hardly 9 million. In 2006 figure shot up to 2billion.
However, the old bilateral system is still causing problems and he called for commercial freedom for the further strengthening of the industry. Citing the latest figures, Dr Sabri said MENA has successfully bucked the global aviation crisis. According to January-April 2009, the passenger traffic in the region is up by 8.4 percent. However, the cargo traffic fell by 3.5 percent. But this is against the global drop of 18 percent. MENA is hugely benefiting from its top-notch airports, world-class airlines, aggressive expansions and connectivity. The region is also reaping the dividends of huge investments in the aviation sector. It has spent a $50b in the infrastructure, $178b on aircrafts over the past five years. The region’s 10 leading airports will have a combined capacity of some 320 million passengers per year by 2012, he said.
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