IATA has highlighted four priorities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), which must be addressed for aviation to deliver maximum economic and social benefits in the region. The priorities were highlighted by Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, during his opening remarks at the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO) 49th Annual General Meeting in Casablanca, Morocco.
The priorities included: sufficient and affordable infrastructure capacity (including air traffic management), aligned with user needs; curbing the spate of unprecedented increases in taxes and charges over the past year; aligning consumer protection regulations with global standards; and enhancing security efforts.
According to IATA, passenger demand in MENA is set to expand by 4.8% each year on average over the next 20 years, to become a market of 400 million passengers in 2035. If that demand is met, the number of jobs supported by aviation in the region will grow from 2.4 million to 3.9 million over the same period. And aviation’s contribution to regional GDP will increase from US$157.2bn to US$359.5bn.
“Aviation is the business of freedom. Its success generates prosperity. A safe, secure, efficient and sustainable air transport industry contributes to the welfare of nations. Strengthening aviation, in partnership with governments, pays huge social and economic dividends. Airlines in MENA face very different business challenges. But whether building or protecting competitiveness, cost-efficient infrastructure, global standards, reasonable costs and secure operations are critical,” said de Juniac.