IATA urges Mena to focus on infrastructure & consumer interests

 30 Nov 2016 - 13:49

IATA urges Mena to focus on infrastructure & consumer interests

The Peninsula

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) highlighted four priorities areas in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) which must be addressed for aviation to deliver maximum economic and social benefits. These include sufficient and affordable infrastructure capacity, curbing the spate of unprecedented increases in taxes and charges and aligning consumer protection regulations with global standards
Passenger demand in Mena is set to expand by 4.8 percent each year on average over the next 20 years, to become a market of 400 million passengers in 2035.  If that demand is met, the number of jobs supported by aviation in the region will grow from 2.4 million to 3.9 million over the same period. And aviation’s contribution to regional GDP will increase from $157.2bn to $359.5bn.
“Aviation is the business of freedom. Its success generates prosperity. A safe, secure, efficient and sustainable air transport industry contributes to the welfare of nations. Strengthening aviation, in partnership with governments, pays huge social and economic dividends. Airlines in MENA face very different business challenges. But whether building or protecting competitiveness, cost-efficient infrastructure, global standards, reasonable costs and secure operations are critical,” said Alexandre de Juniac (pictured), IATA’s Director General and CEO during his opening remarks at the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO) 49th Annual General Meeting in Casablanca, Morocco. 
De Juniac said: “Infrastructure in Mena reflects the foresight of Governments in the region to capture aviation’s economic and social benefits. 
However to keep this competitive advantage, continuous consultation is needed so that capital expenditure aligns industry growth, required service levels and acceptable costs,” said de Juniac. 
IATA urged cooperation to reverse unprecedented rises in taxes and charges - about $700 million in extra costs in 2015 alone. “Every dollar that a passenger spends in the region creates jobs and spreads prosperity. And every dollar collected in taxes or charges is an incentive for travelers to go elsewhere. A low cost structure is a key component of the region’s success—particularly in the Gulf,” said de Juniac.