Huge expansions of GCC airports attract international companies

The massive airports expansion programmes underway in the UAE and other GCC countries have been attracting international aviation companies to the region as the airport operators look for technology and services to handle future growth volumes.
Germany is in the forefront of the competition to get a bigger slice of multi-billion dollar business opportunities offered by the phased expansions of the airports in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.

This years Airport Show will have the participation of over 200 multinational companies, including more than 20 German airport technology companies showcasing their latest products and services to the regional industry decision-makers whose search for innovative technology to meet the future growth demands remains unending.

Mr. Jamal Al Hai, Executive Senior Vice President for Communications and International Affairs at Dubai Airports, said the Airport Show is taking place at a time when AED500 billion is expected to be invested to increase capacity of the UAE airports to 250 million passengers by 2020, including US$8 billion for the Dubai International development.

Mr. Dieter A. Heinz, President of German Airport Technology and Equipment (GATE), the German umbrella association for quality airport suppliers, said Dubai was the city of future and the UAE aviation sectors amazing achievements and plans offers tremendous growth opportunities for the global aviation industry at a time when it was grappling with uncertainties and challenges.
He was in Dubai to hold discussions with the Airport Show organisers about the participation of German companies. He strongly believes that the Middle East will remain one of the biggest markets for the global aviation industry in terms of new aircraft sales and airport expansions.

GATE has been participating at the Airport Show every year since its launch in 2001. The first display of German Airport equipment in Dubai was already in 1981.

He said: We consider the Airport Show to be one of the most important trade exhibitions to reach out the highly-promising regional markets. The idea is to encourage with a German Pavilion small and medium-sized German companies to enter the local and regional markets, where the aviation sector is the most important economic sectors in the world, also for the benefit of the customers.

The German aviation industry expert said Germany was in a better situation than many other countries of the European Union in terms of economic stability, exports growth and accommodating changes brought in by global economic crisis and persistent Euro debt problems. German companies in the UAE or member-companies of GATE are strong, have a good backlog of orders and do not complain so far about business falling.

Mr. Mohamad Bader-Eddin, Show Director, Reed Exhibitions Middle East, organizers of the Airport Show, said the GCC region offers great possibilities of future growth and finances for the aviation industry given its investments in airports developments and purchase of aircrafts by fastest-growing airlines like Emirates, Etihad, flydubai, Air Arabia and Qatar Airways.

In the UAE, which has the highest number of international airports after Saudi Arabia, billions of dollar are projected to be pumped into the aviation domain, thereby supporting the local economy and the global aviation industry in the coming years, he said.

Mr.Bader-Eddin said the participating companies are expected to sign deals worth millions of dollar during the Airport Show 2012.
Mr. Dieter said German companies enjoy high reputation in the Middle Eastern markets, especially the UAE, which has emerged as an international air transport hub. There is lots of safety and security issues that are a priority in the Middle East, new solutions for automatic check-in baggage handling will be on display at the Airport Show. For the expansion projects and construction of airports in the UAE, I can say that German companies enjoy good reputation for advanced technology and reliability. I am convinced that this strong relationship will grow further in terms of mutual businesses, he added.

About the UAE aviation industry, he said: It is important that Dubai preserves its high global reputation and continues to provide the best services for passengers both on board the aircrafts and at the airports. The quality feature of the aviation sector in Dubai makes all the difference. Also the Dubai World Central will prove Dubais ambition for being one of the biggest international air transport hub in the future as well.

He said European carriers are looking at the Middle Eastern airlines very seriously due to the competition they are posing to them and some airlines try to block Middle Eastern airlines from operating from their home bases, feeling uncomfortable with competition. Competition is important to maintain the quality of service and standards in the aviation industry and ensure its sustainability, he added.

He said: Emirates airline is strongly engaged at German major airports already. Berlins new international airport is scheduled to open in June 2012. With Etihad's recent engagement in Air Berlin, the second biggest German airline with the home base at BBI, Berlin Brandenburg International Airport, I expect to see also Emirates Airline using the airport in 2012 when there are a lot of more movements of aircrafts by other carriers.

The Airport Show will be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, from May 22 to 24 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. The show is firmly established as one of the world's leading events devoted exclusively to airport construction, operations, technology and services. The Airport Show is supported by leading international industry associations and local government authorities. About 5,000 trade visitors from 62 countries attended the 2011 edition. For this year's show, the organisers expect a growth of 15 to 20 per cent in terms of exhibitors.
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