Middle East
IATA urges Gulf carriers to expand regional, global cooperation
Last Updated: 2014-04-08 10:36 | Xinhua
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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Monday called for regional cooperation and global standards to support the continued success of aviation in the Gulf area.

Speaking at the ongoing Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi, IATA director general and chief executive Tony Tyler said the fast- growing Gulf area is at the center of the success of Middle East aviation. For the last 12 months, Middle Eastern aviation has outperformed all other regions in passenger transport growth.

But Tyler said effective management needs regional and international teamwork. "The players in the region urgently need to buy in to a vision for seamless airspace management in the region and then work together in a team effort to make it happen."

Airlines in the Middle East are expected to contribute a record 2.2 billion U.S. dollars to the industry's expected global profit of 18.7 billion dollars in 2014.

However, "airspace congestion is a real and rising problem ... Unless it is dealt with expeditiously, the efficient hub operations which are supporting the region's success will begin to unravel," Tyler said.

IATA said between 40 and 60 percent of airspace in the Gulf is reserved for military use. "We are trying to squeeze the fast- growing civil aviation component into a fraction of the airspace. One solution is to develop partnerships and trust with the military to open more flexible use zones," Tyler said.

The international airport in Dubai surpassed London Heathrow Airport for the first time in February in terms of passengers hosted. Heathrow has remained world's busiest airport by international passenger traffic for years.

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