9th Arab Aviation Summit was held in Ras Al Khaimah in an impressive exhibition center Al Hamra. In this year’s event the summit brought together aviation experts and colleagues around Middle East to find out the roadmap to recovery after a difficult couple of years of ongoing pandemic.
28th February and 1 March 2022, Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates.
The location of the conference: Al Hamra International Exhibition Center located 25km from the city center of Ras Al Khaimah.
Arab Aviation Summit is a leading event that highlights the trends, insights and opportunities driving the continuous growth and development of the Arab aviation and tourism industry. In this year’s summit our team at Inxelo Technologies participated the event and brought to our readers a review of all presentations.
Day 1 – 28 February 2022
Voice of the Passenger – IATA Survey
The Day 1 was opened in the morning with a welcome speech and first guest on stage was Khasif Khalid, a regional director for Middle East and Africa IATA who gave a quick summary of the passenger survey “Voice of the Passenger” by pointing out few passengers conclusions:
- Passengers want to use biometric identification if it expedites travel processes.
- Passengers want to spend less time queuing
- Passengers want to decrease the waiting time for check-in especially now that additional documentation needs to be checked (Health certificates)
- 90% of passengers want to spend less than one hour on processes at the airport when traveling with a checked bag.
Next sessions was delivered by Andy Armitstead, Head of Airline Marketing at Airbus (Middle East) who had an interesting presentation about the aviation sustainability. Mr Armitstead pointed out that Middle East is focusing on sustainability and that his company Airbus is planning new aircraft which is carbon neutral by 2035. By 2050 is the target for entire industry to have net zero emissions. Airbus is also focusing on hydrogen which they believe will be a key part to play in future aviation.
Airports Development and Trends Presentation
Mr Curtis Grad, CEO of Modalis, presented few slides about the trend in airport development where in 2022 we are seeing a rise in private sector as well as airports trying to minimize operating costs. Mr Grad highlighted that the optimum cost is up to 5 million passengers yearly. Everything above 5 million increases complexity of operations (staff, bigger security, terminal etc.). The fastest growing airports remain in Asia spearheaded by China and India.
Curtis Grad presenting about airport developments
Airbus Global Market Forecast
Mr Afshin Jahanshani, Airline Marketing Manager for IATA Middle East and Africa, spoke about Airbus forecast on aviation global market. Interestingly in the Middle East, an airline Air Arabia managed to achieve net profit despite pandemic (195 million $) and also decided to expand with a subsidiary airline in Armenia. Mr Jahanshani explained that the airlines that make opportunistic moves tend to recover faster. Furthermore, Airbus’s Neo aircraft is broadening market reach for airlines and believes that in the next 20 years there will be 76% small aircraft demand (up to 100 passengers), medium aircraft 14% and large aircraft (A350) of 10%. Middle East airlines to grow their fleet 25x in the next 20 years.
The new era of tourism promotion – Tik Tok
Mario El and Firas Wahida, GCC client partners from Tik Tok (a popular social media app), had a different and interesting presentation how aviation and tourism industry is slowly changing and adopting new technologies. Especially for airlines to attract passengers, they have to adopt and change content marketing using new apps such as Tik Tok. This app utilizies short videos which is then distributed to the users who want to see authentic content, therefore airlines need to do less traditional marketing and more human aspect in order to attract new generations of tourists.
Enhancing startups and Fundraising
The next session was a panel session with Talha Koc (TAV Technologies) and Athanasios Titonis (CEO at Ras Al Khaimah International airport). The session was about how to encourage startups in aviation in order to disrupt the industry. New technologies such as Artificial Intelligence is one of the most attractive area which a lot of companies are trying to make a breakthrough.
The Israeli tourism outbound market
Next session was presented by Mr Dov Kalmann, CEO of Terranova, about Israeli tourists and how much it could mean to bolster UAE tourism. Since Israel and UAE have normalized relations in 2020, Israeli tourists started flying to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Israelis are big travelers and also big spenders by averaging cca 1400 EUR per vacation in compare to average international european tourist who spends cca 1000 EUR per vacation. In the last 10 years, Israelis had 250% increase in number of trips abroad. CEO of Arkia Airlines, Gadi Tepper, also hinted that Arkia is planning to open a route between Tel Aviv and Ras Al Khaimah.
Dov Kalmann presenting about Israeli tourism
Powering the Aviation of the future
Jason Sutcliffe, Regional Marketing Director at EMEA Rolls Royce, in the last session of the day also talked about the sustainability in aviation noting that Rolls Royce is already reducing emissions and noise from its engines and plans to deliver net-carbon by 2035. Rolls Royce by 2023 will introduce sustainable fuels that would be run by Rolls Royce engines. Also Mr Sutcliffe mentioned the change in airport landscape with future vertiports in the airports with new sustainable aircraft in the near future.
Day 2 – 1 March 2022
Day 2 of the conference consisted of panel sessions where there were interesting guests throughout the day. CEO of Air Arabia Group, Adel Al Ali, mentioned Air Arabia’s focus on new opportunities and how young passengers opt to have travel without stress and focus more on prices than luxury. CEO of Ras Al Khaimah airport, stated that the recovery from the pandemic is seeing positive signs, however the new conflict between Russia and Ukraine could pose a new crisis in tourism especially for UAE since Russian market is very dominant in the region.
Mikail Hourari, President of Airbus Africa and the Middle East, mentioned that Middle East is expected to be one of the regions with the fastest post-pandemic recovery. During the panel sessions, it was also noticeable that Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is taking very strong steps in establishing the emirate as one of the next top destination for tourism.
Overall, we were very impressed with the organization and the content of such conference. It gave us a glimpse of Middle East aviation industry and also shown us where the aviation is headed. We would like to thank the organizers for an amazing hospitality and looking forward seeing you next year.
Inxelo Technologies team at Arab Aviation Summit 2022
— Arab Aviation Summit (@aaviationsummit) March 2, 2022