The Middle Eastern and North African aviation sector has received high praise from the International Air Transport Association for achieving exponential growth and investing $100bn in infrastructure improvements. Nevertheless, IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler told the Arab Air Carriers Organization that some roadblocks to success exist.
"The story for the MENA region is growth," Tyler told attendees at the organization's annual conference. "In 2004, MENA carriers accounted for less than 7 percent of international traffic. Today, it is over 11 percent. The double-digit growth trend of Middle East carriers over the last years has fueled this expansion."
Although Tyler acknowledged that expansion slowed in the first 10 months of 2011 - highlighted by a 0.8-percent discrepancy between supply and demand - he said carriers in this region are poised for a bright future.
Ensuring that this bright future isn't marred by bottlenecks, however, requires certain system improvements. One of them, Tyler said, is developing higher safety standards. "The Middle East region currently is experiencing one Western-built jet hull loss accident for every 1.2 million flights, compared to a world average of one for every 2.7 million flights," he remarked.
"The challenge of raising the region to the world standard is made more complex with growth," Tyler continued.
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