Home' Asian Aviation : AAV November 2010 Contents 6 AsianAviation | NOVEMBER 2010
The International Air Transport Association
(IATA) has called for coordinated efforts to
deal with the challenges of growth in the
Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
"Over the last decade, the carriers of
the Middle East and North African region
have grown from 5 percent of global
traffic to 11 percent," said Giovanni
Bisignani, the organisation's director
general and chief executive officer." in a
keynote address to the Arab Air Carriers
Organization (AACO) Annual General
Meeting in Cairo, Egypt..
"Planned aircraft purchases of US$200
billion over the next decade will support
this growth into the foreseeable future,"
he continued. "This expanding global presence
brings with it the challenge of playing a larger
role in the global aviation community."
The financial situation of the region's airlines
is improving. For 2010, IATA predicts an
improvement of US$1 billion in their bottom
line, from a combined US$600 million loss in
"We are expecting the region to make
US$400 million profits this year," Bisignani
said. "A more cautious approach to capacity
is helping to drive this improvement. While
demand is in line for a 21 percent increase over
last year, the capacity increase has been limited
to 15.9 percent."
For 2011, IATA expects a global fall in airline
profits to US$5.3 billion, from the US$8.9 billion
expected in 2010. The industry group expects
MENA carriers to follow suit, with a reduced
2011 regional profit of US$300 million.
The drop in profit will be partially driven by an
expected capacity expansion of 10.6 percent,
outstripping demand growth estimated at 10.4
Bisignani highlighted four challenges to
the region's growth: safety, infrastructure,
technology and government involvement.
The region's rate of hull-loss accidents for
Western built aircraft slipped from zero in
2006 to 3.32 per million flights in 2009. "At
4.6 times the global average of 0.71, that is
a concern," the IATA chief said. "The region's
rapid growth must be accompanied with a
strong safety record."
Bisignani challenged MENA's governments
to adopt IATA's two safety audits -- the IATA
Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and the IATA
Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) --
as part of national requirements.
Addressing its infrastructure, the region
is planning airport construction valued at
US$100 billion, including at least eight
new runways in the Gulf region.
"But what is being built and planned
on the ground is not being matched in
the air," Bisignani said. "Military airspace
covers 60 percent of the region, limiting
capacity and forcing inefficient routings.
We must cooperate to open more of the
IATA is also working on projects to
redesign airspace in the Gulf area.
On the technology front, MENA is on-
target to meet the December deadline
for full implementation of bar-coded
boarding passes, which promise global savings
of US$1.5 billion. Airlines are 92 percent
complete, while airports are at 90 percent.
Two countries in MENA are participating
in IATA e-freight -- the United Arab Emirates
(UAE) and Egypt. The UAE is now the
originating country for 21 percent of all
e-freight shipments, while Jordan, Kuwait,
Qatar and Saudi Arabia are all expected to
launch in 2011.
The IATA CEO urged governments in the
region to keep costs in check and create
the regulatory framework to balance
burgeoning long-haul opportunities with
short-haul regional liberalization. Bisignani
praised Tunisia's decision, following an IATA
intervention, to eliminate its 10 percent import
tax on jet fuel, which conflicted with the
Chicago Convention. -- Andrzej Jeziorski
SriLankan to acquire seven more aircraft by end-2011
IATA calls for effort to meet Middle East growth challenges
SriLankan Airlines is preparing to acquire its
first all-new aircraft in more than a decade,
among seven to be delivered to the carrier by
the end of 2011.
The seven include five Airbus A320s,
"including three brand new aircraft", and two
de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter floatplanes, the
"We will be celebrating an important new
chapter in the history of SriLankan Airlines
with the arrival of this large number of aircraft
within a short period," says SriLankan's Chief
Executive Officer Manoj Gunawardena. "They
will allow SriLankan to significantly enhance
the passenger experience on board our flights,
giving us the ability to fly to more cities in the
[Indian] Subcontinent, Middle East and South-
East Asia, and to also increase capacity to
existing destinations in these regions."
The last time Sri Lanka's National Carrier
took delivery of a brand new aircraft was
in June 2000, when it received the last of
six Airbus A330-200s. The latest three new
aircraft are scheduled to be delivered from
Those deliveries will be preceded by two
other A320s, set to arrive in December 2010
and early 2011. All five aircraft will be on
The two Twin Otters are to be acquired
for the re-launch of SriLankan's domestic
SriLankan Air Taxi service this winter. The
airline says it is also exploring the possibility of
obtaining at least one more long-haul wide-
body aircraft to launch services to more new
-- Andrzej Jeziorski
Airlines in the Middle East and North Africa are planning to
spend US$200 billion on new aircraft over the next decade.
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