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Technology key to seamless Air Traffic Management in Middle East

Posted 3 May 2015 · Add Comment

Civil aviation authorities in the Middle East are increasingly turning to cutting-edge technologies to grapple with the unprecedented air traffic growth that is threatening the pace of aircraft movements in the skies and fleet expansion on the grounds.

Millions of dollars are being spent for the deployment of innovative technologies, systems and solutions to decongest the skies in the region, which according to Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO), whose members support over 85 per cent of global air traffic, is “saturated” and requires “effective and coordinated” use of technology.
ICAO has projected that the aircraft movements by 2030 in the region will witness a 5.2 per cent annual growth. UAE to handle 1.85 million aircraft movements by 2030. By 2025, airlines are expected to operate approximately 1.4 million flights per annum to and from the UAE.
The UAE Air Traffic Management Strategic Plan, prepared by General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), has projected that the total number of flights will be approximately 1,856,909 in 2030.
The cumulative annual average growth rate is estimated to be 6.45 per cent from 2015 to 2020 and 3.2 per cent from 2020 to 2030 for total civilian operations in UAE airspace. In order to effectively manage air traffic in UAE skies through to 2030, Airbus Prosky made 53 recommendations, many of which are under various stages of implementation.
In a study, European plane maker, Airbus, said emerging regions will represent almost two thirds of world air traffic in 2033. With traffic more than tripling for these regions over the next twenty years, Middle East, Africa, CIS and Asia-Pacific will be the fastest growing regions.
By 2033, the fleet of passenger aircraft (with 100 seats or more) and freighter aircraft (10 tonnes or greater), will be 37,463 aircraft, more than doubling the fleet in service today.
Experts have underscored the need to alleviate ‘saturation and system limitations’ in the Flight Information Regions (FIRs) in the region, of which UAE’s has remained the biggest and busiest.
Enhancing capacity and ensuring seamless operations is the primary driver for GCC airports, which are expected to handle 450 million passengers by 2020. The GCC states are working together on a regional Air Traffic Management (ATM) enhancement programme, focusing on both immediate and future ATM infrastructure and operational and technical requirements to meet future demand.
Airbus ProSky’s Unlocking the Middle East Skies whitepaper says that there are around 30 different projects to increase airspace capacity and efficiency out of Dubai, with similar programmes under way in Abu Dhabi and Doha.
CANSO Director General, Jeff Poole, said: “Technology will help to harmonize systems, processes, and traffic flows in a global way. Technology has the potential to free the Middle East of its present ATM fragmentation and constraints. The ATM challenges must be addressed if the region’s aviation industry is to continue its extraordinary success.”
New technologies designed for ATM transformation in terms of efficiency and operations will be under the spotlight at the 15th Airport Show with 26 companies showcasing their ATM products portfolio. A full session has been earmarked to debate the future of ATM at the co-located event, Global Airport Leaders’ Forum (GALF-2015).


Airport Show and GALF will be held from May 10 to 12 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) 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 Airline and Group.
Taking place on over 12000 square metre gross exhibition space, the Airport Show will showcase the latest technologies and innovation that will change the way people travel through the airports now and in the near future. Over 300 exhibitors from over 40 countries will be participating at the show, which is expected to attract the attendance of over 8000 industry professionals.
Daniyal Qureshi, Group Exhibition Director at Reed Exhibitions Middle East, organizers of Airport Show and GALF, said: “Airlines and airports in the region are pursuing an aggressive growth agenda, backed by an advantageous global hub position, strong government backing and massive investments. The single most important factor that will impact the growth of regional aviation is ATM and limited airspace. With the arrival of hundreds of new aircraft and completion of mega airport projects over the next decade, ATM improvements are essential to match capacity in the air with the capacity being created on the ground.”
A large number of global ATM suppliers and regional buyers will be attending the Airport Show. A dedicated ‘Meet the Buyer’ programme has been created for ATM at the Airport Show this year. The number of companies representing the ATM sector at Airport Show has reached 26, up from 18 last year.
Dubai Air Navigation Services (DANS), the air navigation services provider for the Dubai and Northern Emirates airspace that includes Dubai International, the world’s top airport for international passengers, and Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai World Central (DWC), will be exhibiting for the first time at the Airport Show.
The other key exhibitors include Indra Navia, Northrop Grumman, Selex ES and SkySoft-ATM.
The technologies and services that will be showcased include radios, controllers, headsets, antennas, communication systems, consoles, traffic and operations management, data processing systems, fleet management, landing systems, navigational aids, ATC towers and mobile control towers.
The GALF-2015 speakers include the ICAO Secretary General, Chairman of UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Vice Chairman and Vice President of Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), Vice President of Strategy at DANS, and Director of ATM at EUROCONTROL.
A study by Technavio, an Airport Show sponsor, said ‘limited’ air space and military control has ‘put a hold on stepping growth’ of the aviation market in the Middle East which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.12 per cent over the next five years.
The global Air Traffic Control (ATC) equipment market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.74 period during the period 2014-2019. The global ATC equipment market is expected to reach $4.23 billion by 2020, according to a new study by Grand View Research.
The need for construction of new airports, and expansion and modernization of the existing ones to address increasing passenger and freight traffic is expected to increase air traffic control equipment demand.

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