Why GCC flight delays could double to 58 mins by 2025

World Aviation Safety Summit 2019 in Dubai will discuss potential solutions to problem of airspace congestion in the region

The average delay per flight attributed to air traffic control issues in the GCC region is estimated at 29 minutes but could double by 2025 if urgent measures are not taken, an aviation summit in Dubai will be told.

Industry safety experts at the World Aviation Safety Summit 2019, which takes place in Dubai on December 9-10, will present potential new solutions to the problem of airspace congestion for the Middle East and wider regions.

The problem is costing an excess of $7 billion in lost productivity time to passengers and is adding more than $9 billion to airline operating costs, according to estimates.

One of the key challenges is the fact that a larger part of the airspace in the world is allocated for military aviation rather than civil or commercial. 

There are currently a number of ongoing initiatives to decongest the region’s airspace including the GCC Air Navigation Committee and the Middle East ATM Enhancement Programme.

There has been some improvements in recent years such as Oman upgrading its airspace technology which has led to southbound flights running more efficiently.

However with regional airlines deciding to not fly through airspace near the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman, there remains significant challenges in tackling congestion and avoiding long delays.

Khalid Al Arif, executive director, Aviation Safety & Environment Sector at Dubai Civil Aviation Authority said: “It is important that we look at new solutions to airspace management as aviation continues to grow in the region. The industry is critical to the economies of the region and we must find ways to create greater efficiencies.

“The World Aviation Safety Summit will provide us with an opportunity to discuss the progress made over recent years and how we can continue to collaborate as an industry to ensure that we maximise the airspace available.”

Potential solutions that will be presented include redesigning the regional air space and upgrading technology that will enable increased capacity for airlines. The summit will also include a session dedicated to air traffic control and airspace management which will showcase the value and necessity of addressing the problems.

In the UAE, air transport currently supports 800,000 jobs and contributes $47.4 billion to the local economy, which makes up 13.3 percent of the nation’s GDP.

The World Aviation Safety Summit 2019, which is being hosted by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, is returning to Dubai this year for its seventh edition.

Attendees and participants include officials from regulatory authorities, airline operators, airport operators, aircraft manufacturers, pilot associations, safety organizations and air traffic control service providers.

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