Ahmed bin Saeed launches urges GALF, urges aviation industry to enhance customer experience

WAM DUBAI: Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, today opened the 1st Global Airport Leaders’ Forum (GALF) at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) with a call to the aviation industry to leverage new technologies to enhance customer experience.

The two-day forum is part of the 13th Airport Show which runs until May 8 at DICEC with the participation of over 220 exhibitors from 35 countries.

In his keynote address, Sheikh Ahmed said that the coming together of great minds often gives birth to wonderful ideas and valuable solutions that benefit one and all. “It’s no coincidence that the UAE’s bid to host the Expo 2020 in Dubai is based on the theme “Connecting minds, Creating the future”. I am hopeful your participation will lead to far-reaching, positive changes in the airport industry worldwide,” he said.

Referring to a study conducted by Oxford Economics in 2011, Sheikh Ahmed said that aviation industry supports over 250,000 jobs and contributes over US$22 billion to Dubai’s economy, representing around 19 per cent of total employment and 28 per cent of the emirate’s GDP.

He added: “This is the basis of our continued investment in airport infrastructure. Currently we have committed US$8 billion for the ongoing expansion of Dubai International. We are confident that investment will pay huge dividends. In fact by 2020 aviation’s contributions to our economy will grow to US$44.5 billion and 372,900 jobs.” “We must leverage new technologies to enhance the customer experience. And we must find ways to tap into renewable sources of energy to limit our carbon footprint. All of this will contribute to a profitable and sustainable industry,” he added.

Sheikh Ahmed said: “Airport leaders therefore play a pivotal role. Airlines want timely, cost effective infrastructure that supports their growth and profitability. Passengers want and expect a seamless and pleasant experience. Our communities want us to connect them to the rest of the world. Going forward, we have an opportunity to deliver even more.” “We must cooperate more closely with stakeholders across the value chain – customs, immigration, ground handlers, airlines and ANSPs to ensure our airspace is opened up to meet growing demand. Airports, and the people who run them, are vital links in this chain. I urge you to take advantage of this conference to exchange ideas and develop new solutions to age-old challenges,” he added.

Sheikh Ahmed said: “Dubai itself is growing in leaps and bounds, and the world is waiting in eager anticipation to see what it will do next, and what has been achieved so far. We are delighted to see so many people here now, facilitating and enabling each other to come up with innovative solutions to the challenges facing the aviation industry.” In a presentation on Abu Dhabi International Airport expansion and transformation, Mr. Mohammed Al Balooki, Chief Commercial Officer, Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), said Abu Dhabi International Airport recorded 12 per cent CAGR during the 2000-2012 period. He said growth in demand requires additional capacity which will reach 43 million annually by 2030.