Air transport’s contribution to the UAE economy is already significant. The industry at present supports nearly 800,000 jobs and contributes USD47.4 billion to the economy, accounting for 13.3% of the UAE’s GDP. If the government continues to pursue a positive agenda for aviation, the UAE’s aviation market will grow 170% by 2037, support 1.4 million jobs and contribute USD128 billion in GDP to the nation’s economy.IATA identified three areas where government action can promote aviation’s growth and bring even more value to the UAE:
• Increase airspace capacity to ease congestion and meet future demand: Airspace capacity in the region has not kept pace with the growth in demand, which is leading to significant delays particularly in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council member countries). Governments in the region must replace political fragmentation with collaborative cross-border decision-making to ensure that the global competitiveness of the region’s hubs is not affected.
• Align infrastructure investments with expected growth: The UAE is well-known for the foresight of its government in developing airport infrastructure that is affordable. Future infrastructure investments must provide enough capacity to meet market demand and ensure airline technical and service level needs are aligned and remain affordable.
• Continue to leverage new technology and process innovation to enhance efficiency and passenger experience: The UAE is a pioneer in using innovation to improve the passenger experience. Fast adoption of new technology and initiatives to integrate aviation with future modes of transportation will enhance the competitiveness of the UAE as an aviation hub.
“To maintain the country’s competitiveness as a leading global aviation hub, sufficient air space capacity to meet demand, infrastructure investments aligned to growth and rapid implementation of new technology are essential,” said Albakri.Etihad Aviation Group chief commercial officer Robin Kamark said: “As the national airline of the UAE, Etihad Airways is evolving and continuously looking for ways to provide our guests with more choice and a superior travel experience. We achieve this by having a robust innovation agenda that challenges the industry status quo, and leverages opportunities that come from new and improved technologies.
“We are proud of the significant role we play in continuing the evolution of the Middle East region as a tourism and travel hub, as well as our contribution to the UAE’s vision to become a leader in the global aerospace industry.”