Regional air travel looks set to become more efficient and cost effective as global entity, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (Canso), unveiled the Middle East Declaration to improve existing air traffic and navigation systems.
Abdullah MN Al Rehaimi, President of General Aviation Civil Authority (Gaca), Saudi Arabia, confirmed to Emirates Business that the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have already committed to the initiative, with plans in motion to enlist more regional countries at the Canso seminar in Dubai, which ends today.
“Canso is the leader in air navigation services, and it is imperative that the Middle East is on par with other regions for a greater global connectivity,” said Al Rehaimi, who has been elected as chairman of the Middle East Canso CEO Committee, headquartered in Jeddah.
He added: “The ultimate goal is to activate a single sky policy within the region.”
Ashley Smout, CEO, Airways New Zealand and Canso Chairman, said the aim was to ultimately transform global air traffic management performance.
He said: “Our focus is on creating a safer environment for air travel, ultimately optimising the best travel routes that could reduce travel time, cut down carbon emissions for carriers and ultimately save on costs.
“We are working with international airlines and aviation suppliers to come up with solutions. We are also urging governments to work together as a single entity rather than compete with their neighbours.”
Carriers such as the Dubai-based Emirates airline have already joined hands with Canso. Alan Stealey, Division Senior Vice-President, Flight Operations at Emirates, said this move was part of the airline’s long-term strategy to ensure its growth is not hindered by an air space capacity crunch in future.
“Emirates’ average year-on-year growth is between 15 and 17 per cent. While we believe the air space capacity has not maxed out, we need to ensure that such a problem can be tackled before it becomes a problem.
“Direct routing is another benefit through greater connectivity between civilian and military air space. This is how it functions in the US and Europe, with the latter seeing a routing decrease between 14 and 18 per cent.”
Al Rehaimi said: “Greater corporatisation in the region’s aviation industry is imperative. Performances can’t be measured in government departments due to a lack of transparency and regional bodies are not known to be too flexible.”
When quizzed over the time frame, Smout said: “We hope to have everything in place in three years.”
Amsterdam-based Canso supports 85 per cent of the world air space through work groups and training in air navigation systems.
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